Underlining the need for better implementation of the current water legislation, the minister’s conclusions will aim to improve land use, address water pollution, and increase water efficiency and resilience.

As a first response to the Commission’s report, A blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water resources, the conclusions will also look at the integration of water policy objectives into other policy areas, such as the Common Agriculture Policy, the Cohesion Policy, renewable energy, and transport.

The commission is encouraging EU and its member states to ensure the sustainability of all activities that have an impact on water resources and contribute to securing the availability of good-quality water, which it says “will also curb the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems”.

It also urges Member States to improve policies to address the main challenges facing EU waters, such as water scarcity, which is a growing problem in Europe, and floods and droughts, which have become more frequent and damaging over the past thirty years.

Freshwater constitutes around 2% of the water on the planet, while the Commission suggests that the increasing demand may lead to an estimated 40% global water supply shortage by 2030.

According to the Commission, the main causes of negative impacts on water status are interlinked and include climate change, land use, economic activities such as energy production, industry, agriculture and tourism, as well as urban development and demographic change.

The Commission said: “EU water policy has successfully contributed to water protection over the past three decades. Europeans can safely drink tap water and swim in thousands of coastal areas, rivers and lakes across the EU.

“Pollution from urban, industrial and agricultural sources is regulated and this has brought about significant improvements in the quality of European waters, particularly by reducing an excess of pollutants,” it said.

Leigh Stringer

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