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Conclusions And Proposed Future Technical Activity
From the review of the general
problems in semi-arid regions of the EEA area described in this report, the following
conclusions and topics for possible future technical activities are made:
It is necessary to calculate and
plot the mean annual values for precipitation, potential evapotranspiration and runoff on
a pan-European scale, using the same methodologies for all countries in order to produce
truly comparable data
Synthesis studies of hydrological
regimes (quantity and quality) using the same methodologies on a pan-European scale will
improve understanding of the different problems associated with water resources in the
different countries and regions.
Erosion is an important issue in
southern Europe and it would be important to know the most affected areas and relate them
with hydrological changes (increase of peak flows and decrease of time of concentration).
The rate of soil formation decreases year by year. The environmental impacts cover not
only agriculture but also damage caused by flooding.
It is important to characterise
water quality problems and the main sources of contamination in southern Europe and their
relationships with the potential water resources. Eutrophication of reservoirs and lakes
should be monitored particularly as should the mean concentration of chloride in
groundwater to assess saline intrusion problems.
The development of guidelines for
environmental impact analysis, management tools, etc. for the conjunctive use of surface
and groundwater resources should be made in order to improve water efficiency in the
The setting up of criteria for the
determination of ecological flows for semi-arid areas of the EEA is considered to be of
paramount importance. Common criteria amongst the EEA countries should be derived in order
to set guidelines for the maintenance of ecological flows in rivers. River regulation
systems should follow a common policy in this aspect, bearing in mind the variety and
diversity of aquatic life across Europe.
It is necessary to characterise
areas affected by drought in southern Europe and to produce maps of drought risk,
resilience and vulnerability. Analysis of long series of data on precipitation and river
discharges would clarify these drought studies.
Floods in semi-arid areas
constitute a natural hazard which is not covered by current policies. Mapping of
vulnerable land use areas and applying management tools would be a good starting point in
the to development of policy in this field.
As a pre-requisite to points 7 and
8, studies on a pan-European scale related to the social, economical and environmental
impacts of extreme events (droughts and floods) would give a good indication of the scope
of these problems.
The possible effects of climate
change on the quantity and quality of water resources should be investigated, particularly
in the semi-arid regions, where the effects could be more adverse.
Knowledge of how the change of
land use affects the availability of water resources in the EEA area should be improved,
particularly in semi-arid areas. Nevertheless, the lack of reliable data will make that
very difficult. Data on land use have not been available at the time this report was
written. The outcomes of such an improved study would be, without doubt, an important help
for water management.
Water re-use should be further
practised in semi-arid areas. Some Greek areas have made use of such methods for
agricultural purposes, but it has not yet been widely spread throughout semi-arid regions.
Studies on the application of water re-use techniques would be beneficial.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union.