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Forty years of investments have improved Europe’s bathing water

The European Union’s efforts to ensure clean and healthy bathing water began forty years ago when the first Bathing Water Directive was issued. The annual bathing water report published today proves the value of the legislation and the years of investment in waste water infrastructure and other pollution reduction measures. It shows that bathing water quality has improved continuously over time leading to ninety-six per cent of monitored bathing sites in the EU meeting the minimum standards for water quality in 2015.

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Is Europe's freshwater use sustainable?

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.

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Floodplain management: reducing flood risks and restoring healthy ecosystems

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.

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Forests can help prevent floods and droughts

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.

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Europeans continue enjoying high-quality bathing waters

Ninety-five per cent of the monitored bathing sites in the European Union met minimum standards for water quality in 2014. Water quality was excellent at 83 % of the sites, an increase of almost 1 percentage point compared to 2013.

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River Mur recognised for effective river basin management

The River Mur flows from Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia before reaching Drava, a tributary of the Danube. The organisation managing the Mur Basin was awarded the second European River Prize during the 6th European River restoration conference (ERRC) in Vienna yesterday.

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River basin management relies on effective public participation

Rivers are home of many thousands of wildlife species, vital arteries for farmland, a source of cooling for industry, flood regulation, navigation channels and source of drinking water, to name just a few important functions. Such multiple demands on water bodies mean that many different groups need to be actively involved in managing a river basin.

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Extreme weather driving countries to adapt to climate change

Adapting to climate change has reached the political agenda in most European countries, according to the most comprehensive analysis of adaptation in Europe published to date. Extreme weather events and EU policies were the most common reasons for beginning to address adaptation.

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Europe’s climate continues to change

The period from 2004-2013 was the warmest decade on record in Europe. Many other changes significant for Europe have been observed across the climate system, including warming oceans, rising sea level and shrinking snow cover, ice sheets, sea ice and glaciers.

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Water quality excellent at most of Europe's bathing sites

The water at Europe's beaches, rivers and lakes was generally of high quality in 2013, with 95 % of these sites meeting minimum requirements. Coastal sites performed slightly better than inland bathing waters, the data shows.

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Improving transparency in water services

The average European directly uses approximately 130 litres of water per day. Better access to data on water supply and treatment may help Europe use this precious resource more efficiently, according to a new report on water utilities.

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Water: nutrient and heavy metal pollution 'decoupling' from growth

European households are generating lower levels of nutrient pollution in water, despite a growing population. In a similar example of 'absolute decoupling', levels of some pollutants from agriculture and manufacturing have fallen in recent years, while the economic production of these sectors has grown.

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Water: Charging full cost can encourage more efficient use

Flat-fee water charges are still common in parts of Europe. Such schemes, where users pay a fee regardless of the volume used, do not encourage efficient behaviour, either in households or agriculture, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

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River Rhine commended for river basin management

The River Rhine has won the first ever International River Foundation (IRF) European River Prize, which is given for remarkable achievements in integrated river basin management. The other finalists were the Órbigo River in Spain, the Upper Drau in Austria, and the Mura-Drava-Danube in Central Europe.

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Blue-green algae - check the water before you swim

Most beaches, lakes and rivers in Europe were clean and healthy last year. But water quality can be affected by many unforeseen factors, including sewage, agricultural waste and algae. The European Environment Agency (EEA) recommends checking local water quality information before you jump in.

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Flood risk in Europe: the long-term outlook

Floods in Central Europe have caused deaths and widespread property damage across parts of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Such events are likely to increase in Europe for several reasons including climate change, according to recent assessments from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

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Europe’s bathing waters continue to improve

Ninety-four per cent of bathing sites in the European Union meet minimum standards for water quality, according to the European Environment Agency's annual report on bathing water quality in Europe. Water quality is excellent at 78 % of sites and almost 2 % more sites meet the minimum requirements compared to last year's report.

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EEA reviews new findings from 2012, the Year of Water

Europe needs to work harder to protect its water resources from increasing pressures. This was one of the messages that emerged during 2012, ‘European Year of Water’. The European Environment Agency (EEA) also presented important findings in many other areas, including air, climate, biodiversity and chemicals.

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Water management in Europe faces rising challenges as ecosystems weaken

Water pollution and excessive water use are still harming ecosystems, which are indispensable to Europe’s food, energy, and water supplies. To maintain water ecosystems, farming, planning, energy and transport sectors need to actively engage in managing water within sustainable limits.

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More than half of EU surface waters below ‘good’ ecological status

Water pollution and physical modifications are still affecting the ecology of many of Europe’s lakes, rivers, transitional water bodies and coastal waters. These problems are likely to prevent the water bodies reaching ‘good’ status by 2015, a target set by the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD).

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