Water and drought stress: Commission report shows water management progressing, but at slow speed

On December 15, 2021, the Commission adopted the latest Report on the implementation of EU water rules, measuring Member States’ progress towards bringing all European water bodies in a good status by 2027. The report measures Member States’ progress towards that goal, in particular in terms of  tackling pollution, abstraction and water efficiency. However, it also shows that there is still a considerable gap to full compliance with the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. Several obstacles keep Member States from implementing their measures at speed, mainly the lack of adequate finance, but also delays, and governance. Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: Drought and water stress cause €9 billion of damage every year, not counting damage to ecosystems and the services they provide. Only healthy rivers and lakes can help protect us against the rising challenges of droughts and floods. While Member States are making progress in the right direction, we need to go faster, and invest more in water management. With the European Green Deal we can enhance our water resilience across all policies.” The Report shows that, by mid-term of the 2016-2021 water management cycle the implementation of measures was on track in all Member States, with delays in some cases. Reducing flood risk across Europe requires consistent implementation of the Floods Directive and cooperation across borders.  Half of the Member States have improved data collection and/or methodologies for the first assessment of flood risks. The vast majority of Member States are considering the consequences of future flooding on human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. Today’s report is complemented by three studies – economic study on costs and investments in the water sector, study on floods and climate change and a study on floods and agriculture . More information is in the news item.