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EU Conclusions on Water Resources Call for Improved Implementation

17 December 2012: The Council of the EU has adopted Conclusions in response to the European Commission communication “A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources,” which call for better implementation of existing water legislation, including integration of water policy into other policy areas, such as agriculture, renewable energy and integrated disaster management.

The Conclusions underline that: water is essential to human life; additional efforts and action, including better implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), are needed to preserve and improve EU waters; 60% of EU territory lies in transboundary river basins; and activities in one country, such as water use and land use, can affect the quality and quantity of water available beyond its borders.

The Conclusions also stress the EU needs to: focus on green growth, including to adapt to climate change and build disaster resilience; and apply the precautionary principle. While the Conclusions highlight that the EU legal framework on water is flexible and fit to address water challenges, they call for: better implementation; reliable funding; acknowledgment of the impact of climate change; and the integration of adaptation to climate change into water management decisions.

Specific measures outlined in the Conclusions include: reducting hydromorphological pressures by restoring continuity; using green infrastructure to reduce flood and drought vulnerability, as well as support biodiversity and soil fertility; urging the development of Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) by 2015; addressing diffuse and point-source pollution that threaten water status; accounting for the impacts of land use change on water; developing guidance on ecological flows and water accounts to improve water allocation; addressing illegal water abstraction and water loss by leakage; and managing water demand by improving irrigation efficiency. [Council of the EU Press Release] [Conclusions on a Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources]