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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Key facts

Water resources: quantity and flows - key fact 1

In Europe as a whole, 45 % of freshwater abstraction is for cooling in energy production, followed by: agriculture, 22 %; public water supply, 21 %; and industry, 12 %. In southern Europe, agriculture accounts for more than half of total national abstraction, rising to more than 80 % in some countries. In western Europe, more than half of water abstracted is used for cooling in energy production.

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Water resources: quantity and flows - key fact 2

Public water demand in eastern Europe has declined by 40 % since the early 1990s as a result of higher water prices and the economic downturn. A similar but less marked reduction in demand is apparent in western Europe over recent years, driven by changes in awareness and behaviour and increases in water prices.

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Water resources: quantity and flows - key fact 3

Over the past ten years, Europe suffered more than 175 major floods, causing deaths, the displacement of people and large economic losses.

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Water resources: quantity and flows - key fact 4

A comparison of the impacts of droughts in the EU between 1976-1990 and 1991-2006 shows a doubling in both area and population affected.

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Water resources: quantity and flows - key fact 5

Each European uses, on average, 100-200 litres of tap water a day, but if the amount of water embedded in products (virtual water) such as food, paper, and clothes is included, water use is often 10 to 20 times higher.

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