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Water is essential for life on our planet. Our ecosystems, society and economy all need clean fresh water in sufficient amounts to thrive. But water resources are under increasing pressure in many parts of the world, and Europe is no exception. We must improve the way we use and manage our water resources if we are to continue to benefit from the vital services our water ecosystems provide. More

Key facts and messages
Full and coordinated implementation of water and nature legislation would restore aquatic habitats and foster water efficiency. more
Nutrient enrichment of Europe's freshwaters is a concern, with pollution from agriculture a cause of poor water quality. more
Average nitrate concentrations in European rivers reduced by over 20% between 1992 and 2012, whilst orthophosphate concentrations more than halved. more
Water management should improve with the second round of river basin management plans covering the 2016-2021 period resulting in the realisation of more policy objectives through stringent, well-integrated implementation and public participation. more
Intensive agriculture, urbanisation, energy production and flood protection have altered European hydrological systems and freshwater habitats for decades. Climate change adds to these challenges (higher water temperature, more floods or water... more
Enhanced integration of water policy objectives into other policy areas, especially agriculture, is essential to ensure that a sufficient quantity of good quality water is available for people's needs and the environment. more
Much cleaner than 25 years ago, many waterbodies are still affected by pollutants and/or altered habitats. In 2009, only 43% showed a good/high ecological status; the 10 points expected increase for 2015 (53%) constitutes only a modest improvement... more

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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