New Lords Inquiry into EU Freshwater Policy

19 July 2011

The House of Lords EU Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Committee today invited contributions to its new inquiry into EU Freshwater Policy.

The European Commission plans to publish a “Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water” towards the end of 2012, which will have a dual purpose:

  • to evaluate the EU’s current freshwater policies  and identify any gaps
  • to identify any measures and tools that could help ensure a sustainable, good quality water supply in the long-term.

The Committee sees this as a critical time to examine the EU’s role in the sustainable management of freshwater. It has launched its inquiry in order to provide a substantive input to the discussions in 2012 which will lead up to the Blueprint.

The Committee will examine a range of questions including the following.

  • How relevant and useful do you think the current policy framework is?
  • What challenges should be addressed by EU freshwater policy to ensure the sustainable use of good quality water in the longer term?
  • How can other EU policy areas – most notably the Common Agricultural Policy – be adapted to help manage Europe’s sustainable freshwater supplies?
  • What aspects of EU policy are best managed by Member States or regionally, rather than at an EU level?
  • What should the EU do to promote innovative responses to the demands of water management?

Committee Chairman, Lord Carter of Coles, said:

“Fresh water is a finite resource that is vital to our survival. In the last 18 months, the Committee has reported on adapting EU agriculture to climate change, and on innovation in EU agriculture. Both these reports have shone a light on the strains on our freshwater supply in Europe, and the demands that this finite source will be facing in the future.

If we are to ensure the sustainable use of good quality water, we must look for new ways of protecting, preserving and improving our water supplies. 

We hope that the report we publish at the end of this inquiry will contribute to a very important debate that must be had about the future of freshwater policy in Europe. We would encourage anyone who has an interest to contribute to this vitally important debate.”

Image: iStockphoto

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