Europe must improve water efficiency to boost green economy

Water efficiency efforts must be "redoubled" by Europe in a bid to bolster the green economy, according to a new report.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) warns that inefficient water use "impacts hard" on the resources needed by businesses and can seriously hamper EU productivity and security.

As a result its 'Towards Efficient use of water resources in Europe' report calls for integrated water management and for better implementation of existing legislation, noting that water shortages have "severe consequences for economies reliant on agriculture and industry".

EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade warns that "water resources are under pressure in many parts of Europe, and it is getting worse", adding that "with climate change making water supply less predictable, it is extremely important that Europe uses water more efficiently for the benefit of all its users".

As a result the EEA, calls for water resources to be managed as "effectively as any other natural asset owned by countries" and for authorities to set clear environmental targets for water use.

It also argues that water prices in Europe have "rarely reflected the true financial cost of supplying water" or the economic costs to the environment, which it says causes water pollution and scarcity. To counter this it suggests that "putting the right price on water can incentivise more efficient use of water and technological innovation".

This echoes yesterday's announcement that parts of the UK are now in drought and that seven water companies will be implementing water restrictions from April 5.

Carys Matthews


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