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European Flag    Europa The European Commission Research Fifth Framework Programme
Energy, environment and sustainable development

Sustainable management and quality of water

Life cannot exist without water. A steady water supply of consistent quality is essential for everyone's wellbeing and the efficient functioning of society in general. Although significant progress has been made in reducing water pollution and waste, much remains to be done to protect this precious resource.


This key action focuses on an integrated approach to water management issues. The interactions between water catchment areas, wetlands, rivers, canals and pollution sources, such as industrial zones and cities, will be studied, as will methods for sustainably matching supply and demand.
Information and communication systems will also be developed, both to translate this understanding into efficient water management and to help cope with emergencies as diverse as industrial accidents and flooding.
Technologies to treat and prevent pollution, reduce water consumption and improve water reuse will be developed and their use promoted, particularly in Europe's arid regions.

Integrated management at catchment scale
  • development of tools, methods and management schemes
  • socio-economic aspects

integrated management tools, guidelines for rational use, cost-benefit analysis, policy instruments and institutional mechanisms, decision support systems

Ecological quality
  • ecosystem functioning
  • ecological quality targets

quantification of key processes, ecosystem quality indicators, maintenance and restoration methods

Treatment and purification technologies
  • management of water in the city
  • waste water treatment and re-use

improve urban water management systems, innovative treatment techniques, sustainable reuse, environmental and health impacts

Monitoring and early warning systems
  • pollution surveillance and control
  • improved flood and drought forecasting

improved measuring methods, monitoring strategies, generic sensing devices and early warning systems

Pollution prevention
  • contaminated land, landfills and sediments
  • diffuse pollution

cost-effective remediation techniques, guidelines for good agricultural practices to reduce diffuse pollution

Water-deficient regions
  • water management tools and technological developments
  • saline water intrusion

guidelines for rational surface and groundwater management, methods to prevent saline water intrusion, alternative supply and water conservation techniques, desalination

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