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Water Scarcity & Droughts in the European Union

Building blocks: GAP analysis on water scarcity & droughts

The GAP analysis will look into the current state of play regarding water scarcity & droughts from existing and on-going studies and research activities, to check the adequacy of existing measures, identify gaps and suggest new measures where gaps are identified. In addition, a study completed in April 2008 which assessed four alternative water supply options in Europe will also help fill in knowledge gaps over the use of some alternative water supply options.

Specific objectives of the GAP analysis study are to:

  • establish an overview of  magnitude and the water scarcity & droughts  problem in Europe until now and the medium term perspective, taking into account the effects of climate change
  • identify the driving forces, pressures and the impacts on ecosystems, societies and the economy associated with water scarcity & droughts throughout the EU
  • identify and assess the adequacy of existing measures to prevent, manage or mitigate water scarcity & drought situations in Member States (national, regional or local level)
  • carry out an ex-post evaluation of the water scarcity & droughts policy at EU level, including the policy options identified in the 2007 Communication
  • identify gaps and suggest new measures or mix of measures to deal with water scarcity and droughts issues in the EU
  • carry out an assessment of the environmental, economic and social impacts and the feasibility of the proposed measures

The assessment is intended to be used as the basis for the Commission's review of the water scarcity & droughts policy in 2012.

Please see the tender specifications for more details on objectives and deliverables of this study (also available in French and German).

Read the full report of the study here.


Assessment of four alternative water supply options: Local measures are needed for solving local problems

The presented case studies indicate that the potential problems and mitigation options for addressing water scarcity differ between locations and technologies – meaning that mitigation measures have to be designed to deal with local conditions. The case studies therefore do not provide a single set of best available mitigation options, but rather provide check-lists of potential problems and a catalogue of potential mitigation options, along with examples illustrations of successful applications.

The study reveals that alternative water supply options tend to be more expensive than conventional options, and the case studies illustrate that in these cases, promotion of alternative water supply options is likely to use subsidies to compensate for price differences. Although subsidies can help users in the transition towards more efficient use of water resources, the final goal should be to achieve sustainable water use where the price of water reflects its true cost, with improved efficiencies and reduced water demand.

  • Read the full report of the study on Potential impacts of desalination development on energy consumption
  • Read the Final Summary Report (extended Version) of the Assessment of alternative water supply options
  • Read the Final Summary Report (short Version) of the Assessment of alternative water supply options
  • Read the annexes of the Assessment of alternative water supply options