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EEA Highlights Findings of European Year of Water

EEA27 December 2012: The European Environment Agency (EEA) has issued a press release reflecting on messages and outcomes of the 2012 European Year of Water. Among the key findings is that European waters require protection from increasing pressures.

As part of the European Water Year, EEA and the European Topic Centre (ETC) have released a number of reports, including: European Waters – Assessment of Status and Pressures; Towards Efficient Use of Water Resources in Europe; European Waters in the Context of Vulnerability; European Waters Current Status and Future Challenges; Ecological and Chemical Status and Pressures in European Waters; Hydromorphological Alterations and Pressures in European Rivers, Lakes, Transitional and Coastal Waters; Floods – Vulnerability, Risks and Management; Urban Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe; Territorial Cohesion and Water Management in Europe; 2012 Bathing Water Report; and Hazardous Substances in Europe's Fresh and Marine Waters – An Overview.

These reports formed the basis for development of a policy response to the challenges presented in the form of the European Commission's Water Blueprint, which identifies solutions, including improved implementation of existing water policies, integration of water policy imperatives into other sectors and identification of policy gaps.

Lessons identified during the European Water Year include that, by 2015, half of European waters will fail to meet Water Framework Directive (WFD) targets, 40% of rivers and 30% of lakes will be negatively impacted by hydromorphological changes, including dam building that impacts anadromous fish migration, and climate change is expected to exacerbate the trend toward increased drought in Europe. [EEA Press Release]