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Sustainable water management: better information for better choices

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Clear information and citizen involvement are crucial if we are to bring about improvements in Europe's environment, particularly in the field of water, says Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA.

In a keynote speech at the European Water Partnership workshop (4th September 2008) in Zaragoza, Spain, Professor McGlade described sustainable water management as 'one of our most pressing environmental challenges'. Water is a life-sustaining resource but 'the added complications of climate change, an increase of temperatures and lower river flows will lead to a decrease of water quality', she added.

Sustainable water management is essential to guarantee sufficient provision of clean and safe water to ecosystems and the people who depend on them. An increasing number of Europeans — and not just in the Mediterranean basin — will most likely be affected by recurrent droughts which could be aggravated by water scarcity due to consumption patterns.

Professor McGlade warned against ill-advised decisions in favour of unsustainable large reservoirs, water transfer schemes and desalination plants as solutions to concerns around water availability. 'Instead', she said, 'water pricing, reducing water losses and informing on more water-efficient practices all have a part to play'.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100