Glede na to, da kmetje upravljajo skoraj polovico površine EU, je kmetijski sektor glavni vir pritiskov na evropsko okolje. V zadnjih petdesetih letih je skupna kmetijska politika Evropske unije – ki porabi približno polovico proračuna EU – spodbudila sektor, naj postane vse intenzivnejši v skladu z naraščajočo globalizacijo svetovnega gospodarstva.

Kmetijski sektor je zato odgovoren za velik del onesnaženja površinskih vod in morij s hranili, izgubo biotske raznovrstnosti in ostanke pesticidov v podtalnici. Reforme skupne kmetijske politike v devetdesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja in ukrepi, ki jih je sprejel sam sektor, so sicer privedli do nekaterih izboljšanj, vendar je treba storiti več za uravnoteženje kmetijske proizvodnje, razvoja podeželja in okolja.

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Use of freshwater resources Use of freshwater resources Despite renewable water is abundant in Europe, signals from long-term climate and hydrological assessments, including on population dynamics, indicate that there was 24% decrease in renewable water resources per capita across Europe between 1960 and 2010, particularly in southern Europe. The densely populated river basinsin different parts of Europe, which correspond to 11 % of the total area of Europe, continue to be hotspots for water stress conditions, and, in the summer of 2014, there were 86 million inhabitants in these areas. Around 40 % of the inhabitants in the Mediterranean region lived under water stress conditions in the summer of 2014. Groundwater resources and rivers continue to be affected by overexploitation in many parts of Europe, especially in the western and eastern European basins. A positive development is that water abstraction decreased by around 7 % between 2002 and 2014. Agriculture is still the main pressure on renewable water resources. In the spring of 2014, this sector used 66 % of the total water used in Europe. Around 80 % of total water abstraction for agriculture occurred in the Mediterranean region.  The total irrigated area in southern Europe increased by 12 % between 2002 and 2014, but the total harvested agricultural production decreased by 36 % in the same period in this region. On average, water supply for households per capita is around 102 L/person per day in Europe, which means that there is 'no water stress'. However, water scarcity conditions created by population growth and urbanisation, including tourism, have particularly affected small Mediterranean islands and highly populated areas in recent years. Because of the huge volumes of water abstracted for hydropower and cooling, the hydromorphology and natural hydrological regimes of rivers and lakes continue to be altered. The targets set in the water scarcity roadmap, as well as the key objectives of the Seventh Environment Action Programme in the context of water quantity, were not achieved in Europe for the years 2002–2014.

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Evropska agencija za okolje (EEA)
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