A part of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Waters (2012) was a review of the EU policy on water scarcity and droughts. In November 2012, the European Commission published its Communication Addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts.

While Europe is by and large considered as having adequate water resources, water scarcity and drought are increasingly frequent and widespread phenomena in the European Union. The long-term imbalance resulting from demand for water exceeding available water resources is no longer an exception.

The main objective of EU water policy is to ensure access to good quality water in sufficient quantity for all Europeans, and to ensure a good status for all water bodies across Europe. To this end, policies and actions are formulated to prevent and mitigate water scarcity and droughts, with the priority to move towards a water-efficient and water-saving economy.

EUWMA welcomed the communication of the European Commission on water scarcity and droughts. EUWMA values the distinction that has been made between water scarcity, a long-term stress on water use related to water availability, and drought, a more short-term event caused by specific weather conditions.

EUWMA supported the initiative of the European Parliament to write a report on the European Commission Communication. The involvement of the European Parliament stresses the importance of the sustainable management of the vital resource that water is and its direct links to a large variety of policy areas.

To ensure that the use of the available water resources can be maximised in a sustainable way, the functioning of natural catchments and aquifers must be preserved and rechargeable water aquifers are needed. In addition, existing water infrastructure needs to be used efficiently.