Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s waters

29 November, 2012

The European Commission has released its Water Blueprint, a new EU strategy on the use of water resources. The Blueprint aims to make water use sustainable in the EU, and has been designed in response to an increasing pressure to provide good quality water for human needs, economic activities and the environment. It is closely aligned to the EU’s 2020 strategy, and, in particular, the 2011 Resource Efficiency Roadmap.


A number of studies suggested that additional action was needed to attain good water status in the EU by 2015, which is the objective of the already existing Water Framework Directive. The main pressures on aquatic ecosystems are hydromorphological changes, pollution, and excessive water abstraction. Water scarcity is also becoming increasingly important across Europe and, consequently, several Member States now have problems with both water quantity and quality.


Therefore, The Blueprint proposes a strategy for action consisting of a three-tier approach. This will include improving implementation of current EU water policy, increasing the integration of water policy objectives into other relevant policy areas, and filling the gaps of the current framework (in particular, the tools needed for addressing water efficiency). The strategy will not work on the premise of ‘one size fits all’; rather it proposes a tool box, which Member States can use to improve water quality at local, regional and national scales.


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