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You are here: Home / Publications / Water resources problems in Southern Europe / 5 conclusions and proposed future technical activity

5 conclusions and proposed future technical activity

5. 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:

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 semi-arid areas.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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