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Water requirement

Indicator Specification Created 11 Jul 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: CLIM 033

Update planned for November 2012

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Climate change may affect agriculture primarily through increasing atmospheric CO2, rising temperatures and changing rainfall. Where rainfall does not limit crop growth, these conditions allow for earlier sowing dates and enhanced crop growth and yield (see previous indicators). Where reduced rainfall is predicted, however, the increased requirement for irrigation water can have an overall negative impact in economic and environmental terms. In these areas, increased water shortages are expected to increase competition for water between sectors (tourism, agriculture, energy, etc.) particularly in southern Europe where the agricultural demand for water is greatest. Several adaptation options are available to mitigate the risks of water shortage. Increased irrigation can further burden surface and groundwater resources and increase greenhouse gas emissions, adding to the mitigation challenge.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Rate of change of the meteorological water balance 1975-2007
  • Meteorological water balance in selected parts of Europe 1975-2007


Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel


Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 033
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change


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DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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