This indicator monitors water abstraction from groundwater and surface water overall and for specific economic sectors: cooling in electricity generation, cooling in the manufacturing industry, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying, and public water supply.
Water abstraction is presented as million m3 of water abstracted by economic sector from surface water and groundwater. Economic sectors are defined in line with NACE (Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Communities) sections:
· agriculture, forestry and fishing (NACE Section A)
· mining and quarrying (NACE Section B)
· manufacturing (NACE Section C)
· electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D)
· water collection, treatment and supply (NACE Section E — Division 36)
· construction (NACE Section F)
It takes into account the gross volume of water abstracted, including losses and leakages, and excludes water returns from the economy back to the environment.
The purpose of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) is — inter alia — to promote sustainable water use based on the long-term protection of available water resources.
The EU’s new circular economy action plan explicitly addresses water stress and contains provisions for improving resource efficiency in the context of water resource management.
The common agricultural policy (CAP) aims to achieve the production of affordable, safe and good-quality food by implementing environmentally sustainable farming that protects natural resources and landscapes, enhances biodiversity, addresses climate change risks and stimulates the growth of rural communities and economies . Among other things, the CAP supports investments in water conservation, upgrading irrigation infrastructure and training farmers to improve irrigation techniques. This indicator provides information to support the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) for CAP implementation, which was established by the European Commission. The CMEF includes different sets of indicators on a range of agricultural issues, such as a set of impact indicators measuring the impact of policy interventions.
In addition, the European Green Deal sets out the European Commission’s focus on decoupling economic growth from resource use, by moving to a clean, circular economy, where resources are used more efficiently and the pressures on the environment are decreased. The Farm to fork strategy, which focuses on making food systems more sustainable, is an integral part of the European Green Deal.
The following uncertainties are related to the data sets used for the indicator:
· The reported volumes of water abstracted do not account for unauthorised or unregistered self-abstraction, which is a common issue in some areas.
· Several countries (e.g. France, Greece, Malta, Slovenia) do not report abstraction for agricultural activities other than irrigated crop production (e.g. for animal raising or aquaculture).
· Several countries (e.g. Netherlands, Poland) use dual irrigation/drainage systems (i.e. drainage during wet seasons and submerged irrigation in dry seasons by raising water tables in rivers or groundwater). It is not clear if the reported agricultural abstraction volumes account for these practices.
· Water abstraction for public water supply is associated with high degrees of uncertainty, particularly in tourism hotspot destinations because of double-counting arising from water also being used by tourists at their origins.
· Gap filling the data on water abstraction for agriculture, public water supply, electricity cooling and manufacturing had to be performed because of large gaps in the database for those variables that are associated with high degrees of uncertainty. Therefore, the data used in this indicator assessment may largely deviate from the national data that countries collect. See the additional clarification on the data gap filling methods.