Water shortage threatens EU, industry body says
LONDON - Europe\'s water supplies are under threat from rising demand and ecological pressure, and failure to act promptly could damage the region\'s economic prospects, water industry body Eureau warned yesterday.
\"There are increasing pressures on natural ecosystems to provide public water supplies and water for industry and farming,\" said Eureau President Pamela Taylor in a speech that marks her appointment to the post.
\"There are increasing levels of pollution and saltwater intrusion. There are increasingly frequent and damaging floods across Europe. There are increasing stresses on the water and sewerage infrastructure on which over 360 million people depend,\" she said.
\"On top of all this there is growing uncertainty linked to global climate change. These are important issues for us all and if not addressed will seriously disadvantage Europe\'s economy.\"
Taylor was named to the position from her existing job at the head of the British industry group Water UK.
She urged European Union governments to put the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) into law by the end of 2003, but stressed that responsiblity for its implementation must not be left to the industry alone.
The WFD aims to deliver sustainable water resource management across Europe and beyond its boundaries, from protection of wetlands in Poland to water demand management in Portugal. Management of shared rivers, industrial discharge regulation and pesticide use by farms all come under its remit.
Eureau fears that up to 40 percent of the considerable costs of implementing the WFD could fall on the industry.
Taylor, who has seen the British water industry revolutionised by privatisation over the past 13 years, said that in years to come she also expected to see single companies operating across a swathe of European countries.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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