Europe’s Water Future Insecure, Studies Find

GLOBE-Net (June 1, 2009) – An ambitious European scheme to fix and safeguard its rivers and secure its water future is at risk of being undermined by poor and inadequate plans for water management prepared by EU countries, a new study by WWF and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has found.

The analysis has found none of the draft plans rates well across a range of water safety, conservation and management measures. The European Water Framework Directive, when adopted in 2000, was far from perfect but it had the makings of a world-leading vision to change the ways we manage, use and value ater at a time when the world’s water future looked much more secure than it does today,” aid Sergey Moroz, Water Policy Officer at WWF.

“Worrying diverging trends now emerge from Eastern and Southern Europe, like in Czech Republic and Portugal, where rivers continue to be poured into concrete straightjackets for the purpose of navigation, flood defence or hydropower,” said de Pous. In Portugal up to 10 new dams for hydropower are currently proposed for construction without any adequate consideration of the likelihood that there may not be enough water to run them.

Water pollution remains a serious issue also not sufficiently addressed in the majority of plans and large portions of Europe’s waters remain at risk of becoming unavailable or in need of expensive treatment.

Water efficiency measures were particularly poor in most draft plans. A partial exception was France’s Loire Bretagne basin where a water efficiency objective is proposed for drinking water supply for rural and urban areas.

Public consultation on the draft river plans is set to close at the end of June. EU Member States will have to finalise their water plans by the end of the year and send them to the European Commission.

The NGOs’ findings are supported by an EC commissioned study which found that few Member States are planning to bring more than 20% of surface waters into good status by 2015. The report is available for download here.
A summary is available also

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