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Europe remains without a water plan - EurEau reaction to EC Climate Risks Communication

Commission Communication paints grim picture of Europe’s water future, but the Water Resilience Initiative remains shelved

On the same day as a wide alliance of societal and economic stakeholders call on the European Commission to publish its Water Resilience Initiative (12.03.24), the EU executive released its Communication on Managing Climate Risks in Europe. The report identifies water scarcity as one of the dominant risk factors that will cause conflict between Member States and various water uses such as farming, energy production, public water supply and transport. Coupled with this is the increased occurrence and severity of floods across the continent, resulting in the loss of human life and billions of euros in damage to homes, infrastructure and farmland.

The irony of the Communication is the Commission’s cognisance that the EU is ill-prepared for the life-changing impacts of increased stresses on our water bodies, but it has postponed the publication of its much-called-for Water Resilience Initiative.

“Climate resilience means first and foremost water resilience”, emphasised EurEau Secretary General Oliver Loebel. “It is incomprehensible that the European Commission presents such a detailed analysis of Europe’s urgent water problems but then decides to shelve the Water Resilience Initiative, which should provide the framework to remedy the current shortcomings.”

The stakeholder letter co-signed by EurEau states that “Water is a critical resource to ensure economic, societal, and environmental sustainability of Europe. The Water Resilience Initiative must provide a framework that reduces the risks of competition for this strategic resource among European socio-economic actors, securing enough water of the right quality at the right time.”

Europe cannot shy away from its responsibility.

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