Climate change is real and already happening’ says Tim aus der Beek, leader of the WE WG ‘Water & Climate’
Why is it important to have a new Working Group dedicated to the theme of ‘Water & Climate’?
The occurrence and use of water are largely dependent on the climatic conditions and equally affected by them. Climate change is real and already happening. As shown by the European drought in 2018, many different water-related sectors are affected, for example, food production, transportation, health and ecology. This means that the water sector, in general, needs to cope and adapt to these changes. Therefore, it is very important to have a Working Group at a European level, where researchers and stakeholders get together on a regular basis to define problems, develop solutions and discuss implementation options. Water Europe provides an excellent platform for this work. Especially, as the new Working Group also aims at integrating relevant water and climate topics from other Working Groups, such as Water and: Agrifood, Nexus, Ecosystem Services, Energy.
What are the main priorities of the newly launched Working Group?
The Working Group “Water & Climate” was first established at the Water Innovation Europe meeting in Brussels in June 2019. The scope of the working group aims at (i) understanding the current and future impact of climate and climate change on European water availability and management, (ii) sustainable and innovative solutions to mitigate and cope with these impacts, and (iii) enable and improve participation of different water stakeholders and sectors. Furthermore, the Working Group Water & Climate will define and prioritize R&D gaps and provide an overview of strategies and measures to adjust European water management to a changing climate on multiple scales.
What are you currently working on and what are you expecting to deliver within the upcoming year?
We have used the first two meetings in June and October 2019 to attract new members for the working group and together we have gathered and prioritized the most important topics concerning water and climate. Our next step includes the description of problems, related research needs, as well as options for solutions, mitigation and implementation. We will start with the highest-ranked water and climate topics. By the end of next year, we are planning to summarize the results in a white paper, which will be publically available and also be delivered to the European Commission.