Water in Europe Research Achievements and Future Perspectives within the Framework of European Research Activities in the Field of Environment

Panagiotis Balabanis
1999 Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals  
Water represents a vital strategic resource for human society. Not only is it used to produce drinking water, food, energy, industrial products, it is used for transportation and amenity and plays an essential part in the sustainable development and protection of the environment. Nowadays, in particular in view of the increasing population and the associated expansion of urbanisation and economic activities, it is more and more widely recognised that the scarcity, mismanagement and pollution of
more » ... water pose a serious and growing problem. A problem for the quality of life and human health, a problem for the preservation of the environment and, ultimately, a problem for the economic development of various regions of the world. European water resources, both in terms of availability and water demand, are extremely diverse and variable in space and time. Recent results for research projects supported by the European Union in the framework of the various European Commission's RTD activities, indicate significant impacts of climate change on both water availability and demands. In particular, the results show major regional impacts on precipitation variability and increase frequency of floods and droughts. Changes in land use due to the expansion of various economic activities (urbanisation, afforestation, farming, etc) exacerbate the problem of water shortages and affect the quality of both surface and groundwater resources. The Afers Internacionals,
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