According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) report most of Europe’s water bodies are polluted with agricultural and urban waste and are insufficiently managed. Industry and domestic waste water contributes to the deterioration of the water quality. However, solutions to the issue do exist already, yet they are not adopted widely.
Water sources in Europe are mainly polluted by urban and industrial waste water, agriculture (e.g.: pesticides), mining and dwellings that are not connected to a sewage system. Sadly 22% of Europe’s surface water and 28% of the groundwater is affected by diffuse pollution.
In addition, structural changes (e.g.: water storage, hydropower and irrigation) have a major negative affect on the floodplain biodiversity. These disruptions in biodiversity can lead to another pressing issue of invasive alien species. As a result of global warming, water scarcity and drought became a widely discussed problem. Water abstraction linked to agriculture, public water supply and industry effects about 6% of surface water bodies and 17% of the groundwater in Europe.
According the EEA Report (‘Drivers of and pressures arising from selected key water management challenges — A European overview’) we do have a wide range of solution to improve the water management practices. Water retention measures, nature-based solutions and land use change measures offer multiple benefits.
Assuming, that we all want to preserve one of the most essential resource to our lives, more strict and more coherent implementation of measures and legislations are in need. It is crucial to keep the water ecosystem healthy and to preserve the river banks. To achieve that, all water using sectors (agriculture, energy, mining, aquaculture etc.) shall adopt water management practices. Including farming programmes that reduce or replace the usage of pentices; or hydropower that ensures passages for fish.