Water Challenges for a Changing World
The need for the development of an efficient and effective common public research programme dealing with water issues is obvious. The demand for water grows faster than the world population. In the coming bio-based economy, anticipated to emerge in the 21st century, agriculture will become an even more intensive water user. This means that, in situations of relative scarcity, competition between the different user groups (agriculture, municipalities and industry) will be strong. This will also have a great impact on European ecosystems. Satisfying water users under increasing scarcity will require not only effective use and accelerated development of science and technology, but also paying more attention to integrated water management. To be successful in overcoming problems like water resources depletion and water scarcity, Europe needs to cooperate intensively on water research.
In addition, climate change is expected to have a strong impact on Europe, affecting the intensity and the spatial and temporal distribution of temperature and precipitation events. The variability in precipitation is also expected to increase, leading to a higher probability of extreme events such as droughts and floods.
To achieve successful European cooperation, common strategic themes will be defined, leading to breakthroughs in water science and technology. Joint research themes will go beyond the demand of individual countries, aiming for research efficiency and effectiveness to facilitate synergies and complementarities of current EU, national and regional initiatives.