EEA report identifies the key water challenges that hamper EU waters from achieving the environmental targets


The European Environment Agency released a report aims to give a European overview of the main drivers and pressures that are at the core of key water management challenges and which put European water bodies most at risk of not achieving key environmental objectives.

Identifying the pressures from and drivers of key water management challenges at the European level can help in prioritising the main issues that should be tackled with measures. The report shows how better and more coherent implementation of the existing legislation — including the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, the Floods Directive, and the Water Framework Directive — would reduce key pressures on water.

All water-using sectors, such as agriculture, energy, mining, aquaculture and navigation, should adopt management practices that can keep water ecosystems healthy and resilient, the EEA report states.

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.

Moreover, about 34% of surface water bodies are significantly affected by structural changes, linked to, for example, stabilising the river channel, water storage, hydropower, flood protection, or irrigation.

About 6% of Europe’s surface water bodies and 17% of the groundwater area are significantly affected by water abstraction, mainly linked to agriculture, public water supply and industry.


Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get informed about the news, events and activities of Water Europe.