The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report offering an overview of the main drivers and pressures that are at the core of key water management challenges in Europe.
The EEA find that overall, better and more coherent implementation of the existing legislation would reduce key pressures on water. Moreover, they recommend that all water-using sectors, such as agriculture, energy, mining, aquaculture and navigation, should adopt management practices that can keep water ecosystems healthy and resilient. These include farming programmes that reduce the use of pesticides, hydropower that ensures passage for fish, stringent fuel standards for navigation, and preservation of river banks.
Currently, the key problems the EEA highlight include pollution from urban and industrial waste water, diffuse pollution from agriculture, and pollution from mining and dwellings that are not connected to a sewage system. Overall, 22% of Europe’s surface water bodies and 28% of the groundwater area are significantly affected by diffuse pollution from agriculture, both by nutrients and pesticides. Deposition of air pollutants, particularly mercury, leads to the poor chemical status of Europe’s water bodies.
Source: EEA, 23 September 2021