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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 27 August 2012

Environment: Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on World Water Week from 26 to 31 August

This year's edition of World Water Week which opened in Stockholm yesterday focuses on water and food security. This is part of a broader nexus between water, energy and food. While food production is based on the availability of clean water, it also has considerable impacts on water quality and quantity and therefore has to be sustainable if it does not want to be self-defeating. Similarly, energy production involves considerable quantities of water and may negatively impact water quality. Finally, water transport, provision and treatment require considerable amounts of energy.

It is therefore essential to develop integrated sustainable policies that make coherent choices in these three fields. This is all the more necessary as water availability worldwide cannot be given for granted. This summer we are witnessing extremely serious droughts in many parts of the world, notably the USA but also in Southern and Eastern Europe.

Water issues were also reflected at the major global summit on sustainable development, Rio+20, in June this year. Rio+20 agreed on common objectives, access to safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation for all and on integrated water resource management at all levels. Rio+20 also stressed the importance of addressing floods, droughts and water scarcity as well as the need to increase water quality and efficiency.

The Commission is conscious of these increasing challenges and their linkage with climate change. We have carried out an in depth review of EU water policy to assess its suitability to address them and we will come forward with a number of policy proposals later this year by publishing a strategic document, the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources.


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