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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 irrigated fields

Achieving a sustainable future for African farming

Sustainable rural development can only be accomplished by empowering local people to participate in the development of new techniques themselves. In understanding the importance of irrigation for smallholder farmers, the EU-funded EAU4FOOD project has integrated locals within the innovation process.

Photo of a lake

Freshwater biodiversity - the big picture

Freshwater habitats covering more than 80% of the Earth's land surface have been catalogued in an EU-funded research project, yet even in Europe our knowledge of freshwater biodiversity is far from complete.


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