Water - Environment


Water is essential for life and an indispensable resource for the economy. Accordingly, EU water policy focuses on protecting water resources. The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is designed to protect European waters, achieve good ecological status and enable sustainable use. To meet these objectives, it stipulates that water must be managed at river basin level.

Eurostat's statistics cover:

  • water resources (per year and long-term average)
  • abstractions from water resources by origin (fresh surface water & groundwater, other sources) and purpose
  • water use by supply scheme and by economic activity group
  • connection rates to wastewater treatment by type and level of treatment
  • wastewater treatment infrastructure
  • generation and disposal of sewage sludge
  • generation of aquatic pollution by source and its discharge by type of treatment.

Water statistics are also used in indicator exercises, e.g. the resource efficiency scoreboard and the SDG indicators. Eurostat and the OECD jointly administer a questionnaire on inland waters designed to collect data from EU, EFTA and EU-candidate countries. In line with the Water Framework Directive, data is also collected at regional level, to develop a smaller data set on River Basin Districts level (regions defined in terms of hydrology – individual or grouped river catchments).

As collecting data is voluntary for the data providers, the resulting data sets are incomplete to varying degrees, which limits their usability. An initiative to establish a legal framework for water accounts is underway.

Access to the data via ready made tables (Main tables)

Access to more detailed data (database)