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European research in action

On the research front

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Water, a natural resource, has become a much sought-after economic good the management of which is likely to become a major global problem. Increasingly, there is an imbalance between the geographical and seasonal demand for and availability of water. This imbalance leads to over-use and exhaustion of reserves, even conflicts between competing users - if not between States. Even where water is in abundant supply, it is the subject of pollution and waste. These are all negative factors which jeopardise supplies, environmental balance and the quality of life for everyone.
The crucial challenge is the sustainable management of water resources, requiring a major scientific and technological effort which could not be achieved without international and multidisciplinary cooperation between researchers. The aim is no less than to understand the complex mechanisms of the natural water cycle, evaluate means of safeguarding resources and protecting their quality, develop the best and most cost effective technologies for monitoring and purifying water and act against waste. At all these levels, ambitious projects carried out on a joint basis by teams from various European countries are being supported by the EU. Water technologies, a field in which European know-how is recognised throughout the world, are moreover a growth sector promoting business and creating jobs. For a number of years, the Member States of the European Union have pursued a common water policy which has given rise to Directives protecting this essential resource. In this vital area, Europe should be a leading player, particularly in the field of research, in order to meet the immense needs at global level.

 
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