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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:

SOWAEUMED – Cleaner water for a safer future

Population growth among Europe's North African neighbours, Morocco and Tunisia in particular, is putting increasing pressure on the demand for clean water. As supplies slowly dwindle, there is a growing need for efficient technologies to improve water quality and treatment in a bid to cut down on waste water.

LEGIOTEX – A new water filter to combat the Legionella bacterium

Legionella is a bacterium present in water that can become a potential threat to human health when appropriate conditions for its growth and proliferation are met. These conditions frequently occur in large indoor facilities such as tanks, boilers, heater pipes and even shower heads. Between 2003 and 2004, 35 European countries reported over 9000 cases of Legionnaires 'disease. Overall mortality rate was 8.2% but this figure increased to 40% in people with compromised immune 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