Better mix of measures including pricing and awareness campaigns key to improving sustainable water use

In the face of challenges like drought and growing demand in many European Union countries, managing water supplies will require a better mix of pricing and non-pricing measures to ensure efficient household water use, according to a new European Environment Agency briefing published today.

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European action can help ease pressure on threatened Arctic environment

The Arctic region is warming at a rate of almost twice the global average, resulting in profound and rapid changes in its living conditions and the environment. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report, published today, looks at how the rest of Europe affects the Arctic environment and how changes in the region impact Europe in return.

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More European sites meet excellent bathing water quality standards than ever before

More than 85 percent of bathing water sites monitored across Europe in 2016 met the most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards — meaning they were mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health and the environment, according to the annual bathing water quality report published today. Over 96 percent of bathing water sites met minimum quality requirements set out under European Union rules.

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Quality of Europe’s water for people’s use has improved, but challenges remain to keep it clean and healthy

The quality of drinking water and bathing water, and the effectiveness of waste water treatment across the European Union continues to improve, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. However, pollution from sources like waste water treatment plants, agricultural runoff and storm water overflows, and emerging risks like micro pollutants from personal care products pose challenges to maintaining clean and healthy water for people’s use.

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Restoring European rivers and lakes in cities improves quality of life

Rivers and lakes located in European cities and towns are getting cleaner thanks to improvements in waste water treatment and restoration projects which have brought many waterways back to life. New forms of water management contribute to make our cities greener, smarter and more sustainable, but key challenges remain, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) released today.

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Fish to fork: a need to implement changes in the food system

Securing our need for food has become a major threat to the environment, driving increased emissions and over-exploitation of natural resources such as water, soil and fish. Our health and well-being have also been affected. Ensuring nutritious food for all in a fair and environmentally sound way has become a societal, economic and policy challenge across the world. A shared understanding of the food system and the roles different actors — policy makers, producers and other stakeholders in the food supply-chain — play will be crucial to a sustainable future, according to a new European Environment Agency report published today.

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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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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100