Water is a vital but an increasingly scarce resource. Inadequate freshwater supplies are putting an increasing strain on human communities, especially the poor. Globally, 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water. Without action, water poverty could concern ever larger parts of civil societies around the world, with far-reaching implications for economic, social, and political stability. The problem is global, but also concerns our continent: in summer 2022 Europe saw the most severe droughts in 500 years and other recent crisis such as floods, but also heatwaves and fires, have revealed the immediate consequences of climate change. Almost two thirds of European citizens consider water quality and/or quantity in their country to be a serious problem.
Considering the challenges at stake, the current EU policy framework is not fit for purpose. The EESC wants to call on the European Commission to start addressing water as a priority at European scale. The objective will be formalised in an umbrella opinion calling on European Institutions for a "Blue Deal": a radical effort to anticipate needs, to preserve water resources and adequately manage related challenges through a comprehensive and coordinated roadmap, setting ambitious targets and actions linked to agreed milestones.
The opinion will provide few but meaningful and concrete recommendations, reflecting the contributions made in the sections' and CCMI own-initiative opinions addressing the Blue Deal from their respective perspectives.
Key questions to be addressed by this opinion notably include:
- Global challenges at stake: scarcity and preservation of fresh water resources and geopolitics of water
- Sustainable water management (water consumption and wastewater produced by households, public administration, agriculture and industries, water-efficient technologies and water distribution networks and infrastructures
- Economics of water: water pricing, water poverty and water investment gap