Water-intensive industries and water-efficient technologies

EESC opinion: Water-intensive industries and water-efficient technologies

Key points


  • Calls on the European Union to urgently develop a new EU water policy, including a comprehensive sustainable water management policy for industry based on reducing, reusing and recycling water, decreasing water pollution and including a focus on water-intensive industries and the incremental introduction and use of water-efficient technologies.
  • Calls for a roadmap supporting industries in becoming water efficient in an incremental manner, with milestones and a sectoral approach, fully taking into account the energy-water-critical raw materials nexus. This requires a revision of the EU Industrial Strategy and its transition pathway documents within the next two years. This sectoral approach should embed the water efficiency characteristics and water challenges specific to each sector and be based on a foresight approach with options, impact and risk assessment with life-cycle cost analysis.
  • Believes that the EU needs to become the world leader in the development, manufacturing and use of water efficient technologies and establish a global reputation as a low-water-footprint production area. Water-efficient technologies constitute an industrial sector that is part of clean technologies. As clean tech constitutes an industrial eco-system on its own, the EESC suggests the creation of a transition pathway for this ecosystem in the next two years, with ambitious but realistic targets, including a plan for stewardship and skills.