Ga verder naar de inhoud

Water is the “life-blood” of our economy, industries, societal functions, nature as well as health and wellbeing of our citizens. 75% of our jobs depend on water, while water crises rank among the top 5 global risks in terms of impact. The management and protection of water resources, of fresh and saltwater ecosystems, and of the water we drink and bathe in is therefore one of the cornerstones of environmental protection.

What is water scarcity?

The majority of our planet is covered in water, yet the water we drink and use for farming is decreasing. The rivers and lakes are drying up due to climate change, and many of them have become polluted.

The result is that more than 1 billion people worldwide lack access to freshwater for drinking and sanitation, exposing them to disease and dehydration. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.

Water scarcity will bring environmental degradation and competition on water use (agricultural, domestic, and industrial), which will have a high impact in the European economy.

In terms of water usage, agriculture is by far the sector exerting the highest pressure on freshwater resources overall, being responsible for near 59% of total water use in Europe (2017). Food systems sustainability is constantly threatened by water scarcity, particularly in Southern European regions -Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Malta and Turkey- where water shortages are expected to increase in the near future.

Moreover, excessive consumption patterns, lack of awareness among citizens and industrial players, discharge of pollutants that compromise groundwater and water bodies’ quality, leakages in the distribution pipes, etc. All of it contributes to increase the risk of suffering water scarcity.

Finding innovative solutions to reverse water scarcity, changing from water misuse and pollution to reduce, reuse and non-use of water by different industries, will ensure environmental sustainability and competitiveness.

New technologies, improved irrigation management, drought-resistant crops and water recycling in factories could save up to 40% in the agricultural and industrial sectors. The European Commission, together with the KICs, is working with EU countries to find innovative solutions for Water Scarcity and build capability to individuals and business to promote a better use of this pressure resource.