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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
We need freshwater for human consumption and economic activities such as food production and industry, but does Europe manage this valuable resource in a sustainable way? An indicator assessment published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on World Water Day takes a look at the use of freshwater resources across Europe.
Floodplains once covered wide stretches along European rivers, but today only fractions of them remain. These ecosystems have an important role to play in reducing flood risks and are also the natural habitat of many endangered species. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides an overview of significant floods in Europe and looks at the role of floodplains in flood protection, water management and nature conservation.
Forests can retain excess rainwater, prevent extreme run-offs and reduce the damage from flooding. They can also help mitigate the effects of droughts. A new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides an overview of the water-retention potential of European forests.
Every summer, European holiday resorts fill up with tourists eager to enjoy the warmer weather and the beautiful natural surroundings of this diverse continent. For many, the summer vacation is synonymous with swimming in the sea or in a lake, so it is natural that water quality is an important factor in choosing a destination. To help citizens make informed choices, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission publish the annual European bathing water quality report. The information contained in this edition - which covers bathing water quality in 2015 in the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland - indicates where good quality bathing water is likely to be found in 2016.
Flood risks and environmental vulnerability — Exploring the synergies between floodplain restoration, water policies and thematic policiesPublication 26 Jan 2016
This report focuses on the role of floodplains in flood protection, water management, nature protection or agriculture and the impact of hydromorphological alterations on the ecosystem services that floodplains provide. The aim is to support the implementation of the EU Floods Directive (EU, 2007), in particular with regard to environmental impacts and how these can be linked to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It looks at synergies between water management, nature conservation and economic developments both in the field and on policy level.
This report provides for the first time a European overview of the role of forests in water retention, based on the Water Accounts Production Database developed at the EEA. The results represent 287 sub-basins hosting more than 65 000 catchments across Europe. The impact of forests on water retention is measured according to three parameters/characteristics: forest cover (measured in hectares), forest types (coniferous, broad-leaved, mixed), and the degree of management of the forests (‘protected’ versus unprotected/commercial forests). The estimation of the water-retention potential is derived from the relationships between input (rainfall) and output (water run-off into rivers and lakes) as affected by these three forest characteristics.
The report assesses bathing water quality in 2014, indicating where the quality of bathing water is expected to be good in 2015. The report was compiled using information from more than 21 000 bathing waters in the 28 EU Member States. The report also covers bathing waters in Albania and Switzerland. The report is a joint production of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission.