Thursday 25 December 2008

Water scarcity and droughts: The European Union fosters higher water prices

"Member States are committed to delivering by 2010, water pricing policies that provide adequate incentives to use water resources efficiently (Article 9 WFD). Some of them ([Cyprus], [Spain], [France], UK, [Portugal]) are taking actions to set tariffs that are consistent with the level of water scarcity at local level, the season and/or the level of consumption. Others (UK) are conducting reviews and assessing the effectiveness of different types of tariffs in water stress areas."
These measures are part of a European Union strategy to address water scarcity within the EU.

The European Commission has issued a follow-up report on water scarcity and doughts (including a timetable of measures in 2008-2010), based on a Commission Communication to the European Parliament (COM(2007)414) from July 2007 in which the Commission concluded:
"The challenge of water scarcity and droughts needs to be addressed both as an essential environmental issue and also as a precondition for sustainable economic growth in Europe. As the EU seeks to revitalise and reinvigorate its economy and to continue to lead on tackling climate change, the devising of an effective strategy towards water efficiency can make a substantial contribution."
One of the findings in the follow-up to the 2007 report is - according to a study (part 1, part 2) carried out for the Commission in September 2007 - that
"the water saving potential is close to 40% in Europe. This requires substantial changes on the way in which water is distributed and used in order to develop water savings to the largest extent possible."
However, and despite efforts within the member states, the follow-up report concludes that "a great deal still needs to be done" in order to achieve an efficient management of water resources.