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World Water Day: EU Water-related Research

Water research has been a major component of EU research since the late 1980s, covering a wide spectrum of water-related topics and evolving over the years in close correlation to EU water policy. Over the last 10 years, the EU - via the Framework Programme for research - has contributed an average of €130 million per year to water-related research.

Today, economic development, growing populations and increasing degradation of the environment all make sustainable exploitation of resources a priority, and no resource is more fundamental to our well-being than water.

Climate change will have a direct impact on human society, affecting the quality and availability of fresh water, increasing the frequency and severity of droughts and flooding, and posing a serious threat to the functioning of our economies and ecosystems.

With global population growth, urbanisation, pollution, over-exploitation and climate change all placing pressure on our water resources, especially in developing countries, it is more important than ever to recognise the interconnectedness of the world’s water systems.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded water-related research projects:

Photo of a running tap of water

Saving water through effective knowledge sharing

Freely accessible online tools to enable sustainable and efficient water resource management are being developed by the EU-funded SWITCH-ON project. The initiative is currently building a web portal to host innovations such as a virtual water-science laboratory, product marketing point and meeting place.

Photo of a water tap

Doing away with bacteria in water systems

Harmful bacteria can be removed from water sources through the addition of copper and silver ions. The SILCO project has developed an innovative monitoring device that senses the elimination process of complex bacterial communities known as biofilm and unsafe bacteria from drinking water systems.


For more information:

European Commission's Environmental research related to natural resources including water

Research projects in the area of natural resources

European Innovation Partnership on Water