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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 the field

'Electric' bacteria can purify sewage water - fast

Harnessing bacteria that produce electricity and break down organic waste, a European research project is developing a new, environmentally friendly way to purify sewage water in small communities.

Poor access to water, Concepcion, Bolivia

A fresh approach to water security

Local people have more power than they think to adapt to new water supply patterns from climate change. An EU-funded project is helping communities in tropical forests in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile self-organise to ensure secure access to water and wiser use of resources.

 

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