Energy & Environment

A wake-up call for a water-savvy EU: the #WaterWiseEU campaign

May 2024
By Editorial Staff

During Green Week, on May 29th, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal Maroš Šefčovič announced the start of the #WaterWiseEU campaign, lasting until autumn; it’s aimed to raise awareness and discuss strategies with stakeholders and policy-makers about building “water resilience” in Europe by 2050.

The shortage of this precious resource is among the many negative effects climate change has on our continent. Droughts and floods routinely plagued EU territories in recent years, and the increasing demand from the growing population gradually diminished the availability of this vital resource. In a recent survey on environmental threats, EU citizens placed “overconsumption and wastage of water” on the second step of the podium, showing a clear awareness of the issue.

Šefčovič cited some alarming figures: “According to the UN, global demand for clean water will surpass what is available by 40% in 2030. While the World Bank estimates that the global food system will require 40-50% more within the next three decades; municipal and industrial demand will increase by 50-70%, and energy demand will increase by 85%”.

This sector, generating 107 billion euros in added value and supporting 1.7 million jobs across around 80,000 enterprises, is crucial for the green transition. Many key industries rely heavily on water, including clean tech, critical raw materials, semiconductor production, and renewable energy. Hence, the strategic importance of ensuring water resilience all across the EU.

The launch of this campaign preceded other suggestions coming from Šefčovič, such as:

  • Building a “Water Smart Economy”, ensuring integrated management exploiting all the possibilities offered by the principle of circularity, to make sure not even wastewater goes to… waste;
  • Significant investments toward a more efficient Europe, through the STEP facility and Horizon Europe grants, which already allocated 1.3 billion euros to water R&I projects;
  • Application of the revised Directive which will improve access to safe drinking water for EU citizens.

Every point of this bucket list constitutes a clear call to action for citizens and stakeholders all over the EU, who can join the campaign through the dedicated informative webpage, containing communication tools to spread the message. A fitting timing, indeed, considering that summer is approaching, and it’s not so forgiving on water sources these last years…