<P>© iStockphoto Fact 3: The European Union is taking action A variety of approaches are being used at EU level to preserve Europes waters. Legislation, market instruments, monitoring, research and awareness- raising can all make a contribution. In 2000, the EU introduced the Water Framework Directive, the most ambitious and comprehensive piece of EU legislation ever approved in water policy. Taking a genuinely European approach, it establishes a management system based on natural river basin districts rather than regional and national boundaries. The aim is to bring together all water managers – from governments to local communities – the public and all a? ected sectors to safeguard ground and surface waters, and achieve good ecological status by 2015. In 2007, the EU put forward a Communication addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts. The Communication identi? ed seven policy initiatives that had to be addressed if Europe was to move towards a water-e? cient and water-saving economy. Each year a report is presented on the annual progress towards the implementation of the set orientations. EU policy related to water scarcity and droughts is based on the principle of a ‘water hierarchy. This means that additional water supply infrastructures such as water transfers or desalination plants should be considered only when all demand-side measures, like water-saving, water e? ciency improvements and water-pricing, have been exhausted. A 2009 EU policy paper on adapting to climate change highlights the need for further measures to enhance water e? ciency and to increase resilience to climate change. This approach reinforces the consistency of measures taken at both EU and national level, and sets the scene for further European action. Member States need to focus on prevention in dealing with the threat of drought and water scarcity. The EU needs consolidated data and drought indicators. A prototype European Drought Observatory for forecasting and monitoring will publish real-time information online. The Commission is also launching a number of related projects as well as research initiatives under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development. The policy on water scarcity and droughts will be reviewed by 2012. This review, together with the assessment of the Member States plans for managing Europes river basins, as required by the Water Framework Directive, and the review of the vulnerability of environmental resources such as water, biodiversity and soil to climate impacts and man-made pressures will contribute to the Blueprint for Europes Waters planned for 2012. The Blueprint will foster a move towards prevention and preparedness with a view to ensuring a sustainable balance between water demand and the supply of clean water, taking into account the needs of both human activities and of natural ecosystems. Fact 4: Member States are acting You may have noticed the water tari? system changing in your country. This is one of many measures being introduced to ? ght water scarcity. Measures to encourage more sustainable use include: Market-based instruments to ensure that the ‘user pays principle becomes the rule. As tari? s may increase peoples water bills, in most countries they are being applied gradually. Alternative measures to encourage the e? cient use of water include block tari? s, penalties for excessive consumption and discounts for water saving. Targeted use of funding to encourage water saving, such as for improved land-use planning to prevent new developments overexploiting water resources, and promotion of sustainable agriculture (crops using less water, more e? cient irrigation etc). Did you know…? It takes around 16 000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef, 140 litres of water for 1 cup of co? ee, and 900 litres of water for 1kg of maize. Every year, some 247 000 million m3 are extracted from ground and surface water sources (streams, lakes and rivers) in the EU. Not all of this water is consumed. For example, the water abstracted for cooling purposes in electricity generation is nearly all returned to a river, a bit warmer than it was originally. Contrastingly, most of that abstracted for agriculture is consumed. This means that it is not returned to the river because it is used for irrigation so it is either evaporating or is being bound up in the crops. The largest proportion of the abstracted water (44) goes to the energy production sector for cooling processes. Agriculture and food production also require their share, using 24 of abstracted supplies, but this can go up to 80 in some southern regions. Irrigation consumes a lot of water, but many high-value farming activities are relying on a small proportion of irrigated land: in Spain, for example, more than 60 of the total value of the countrys agricultural output comes from the 14 of agricultural land that is irrigated. 17 of the abstracted water is used for public water supply (including households, the public sector and small businesses) and 15 for industry. Half of the water taken for manufacturing is used in the chemicals sector and petrol re? neries, with basic metals, paper and food processing industries taking up most of the rest.</p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.stallionpublishers.com/publication/1577/ibbmbyhcp/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.stallionpublishers.com/publication/1577/ibbmbyhcp/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.stallionpublishers.com/publication/1577/ibbmbyhcp/3/3/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.stallionpublishers.com/publication/1577/ibbmbyhcp/4/4/">Back-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.stallionpublishers.com/publications/1577/x/sitemap.xml" target="_blank">site map</a></LI> </UL>

 

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