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EurEau Statement on COP26

World leaders meet in Glasgow this week to decide how to tackle climate change.

We need actions, not words.

Climate change is already directly and significantly affecting water service providers in most parts of Europe, resulting in more frequent or intense periods of drought, heat waves or rain storms, and in more places.

It will have many direct and indirect effects on the quality and quantity of available water and will therefore impact on water services. It is critical that water operators analyse their individual situation comprehensively to identify suitable adaptation measures and integrate the findings into their planning and decision-making processes.

Policy makers need to be made aware of and support favourable framework conditions, for example: putting in place clear governance structures, prioritising drinking water supply before all other uses, granting priority to public water supply in the case of uncertain power supply and developing holistic strategies to prevent floods and prevent Combined Sewer Overflows.

In parallel, water operators need to be enabled to reduce their own climate footprint in line with European targets.

One means of achieving this is through focussing on control-at-source measures to reduce the amount of pollutants that end up in the environment. Water operators use considerable energy and resources in removing these during the water treatment process. Preventing them from entering the cycle in the first place will help reduce energy and resource use. Doing so will also help return reusable nutrients and materials from the waste water side safely to the Circular Economy.

We all need to act now. The European water sector is already working to mitigate climate change. Some of the measures already taken are reducing the energy consumption for heating, treatment, distribution and collecting of water, improving energy efficiency and the generation of renewable energy through waste water components such as biogas as well as heat recovery throughout the whole operation.

EurEau’s 34 member associations together represent more than 70,000 companies, which together employ almost 500,000 people.

Our sector cannot act alone. We need support from governments to achieve this. We will work closely with the European and other stakeholders both in and beyond the EU to ensure that the necessary measures are taken so that we can all look forward to a safe future. Tackling climate change means secure water supplies for us all.

Read our briefing note on climate change

Briefing note on the effects of drought on drinking water

Tags: water, environment, climate change, COP26, drought, pollutants, rain, mitigate, adapt, resource

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