Climate change poses a key challenge to water management and water-dependent sectors in the EU. Increasing water scarcity, deteriorating water quality, and heavy rainfall events or floods have serious consequences for drinking water supply or freshwater conservation. But it is not only the water sector that is affected as sectors like agriculture, forestry, energy production, transportation or spatial planning are also highly interconnected with water.
European institutions play a key role in establishing framework conditions that enable actors at different sectors and scales in the Member States to efficiently adapt to these changes and increasing resilience against climate change. There is a strong need for discussing approaches how adaptation can be best supported by the EU, building on a robust scientific base of the impacts of climate change and effects for different sectors. This implies considering both gradual changes and extreme events.
Therefore, a conference focusing on major water-related issues was organised within the German EU Council Presidency 2020. Four thematic complexes have been identified for discussing at the conference:
- too much water
- too little water
- Instruments for climate change adaptation in river basin management
- Cross-cutting topics for a revised European Adaptation Strategy.
The conference aimed at bringing together stakeholders with different backgrounds, including EU member states, institutions of the EU, NGOs, practitioners and researchers on water, climate change and adaptation. This resulted in the finalisation of a policy paper with recommendations for future measures and activities to efficiently support adaptation efforts in EU member states and transboundary basins. The outcomes of the conference will, amongst others, also serve to support the drafting of the new EU Adaptation Strategy.