In adopting an own-initiative report on water scarcity and droughts in the European Union, MEPs urge the Commission and Member States to acknowledge that deforestation and unrestrained urban development are contributing to growing water scarcity. The House calls on the Member States and the authorities concerned to pay heed to water-related considerations in their land-use planning. The report was adopted with 594 votes in favour, 45 against and 12 abstentions.
Parliament stresses that any supply of water regardless of the purpose of its consumption must comply with the principle of fair water tarification, thereby encouraging companies especially to use water more efficiently.
The report stresses that the cross-regional and trans-border nature of river basins can have a serious cross-border impact on upstream and downstream regions, and that it is thus indispensable for the Member States, as well as regional and local authorities, to cooperate on the issue of water scarcity and drought ensuring sustainable and fair use of water resources. The House considers that the specificity of the water scarcity and droughts issue requires coordinated action at EU and Member State level as well as at regional and local government level.
The House calls on regional and local authorities to take advantage of the great opportunities offered by the Structural Funds and invest in the improvement or renewal of existing infrastructure and technology (in particular in regions where water resources are wasted due to leakages from water pipes) including, notably, clean technologies that facilitate the efficient use of water and can be linked to integrated water resource management (IRM), in particular to address the challenge of water efficiency (in terms of savings and reutilisation) in the industrial and agricultural sectors as well as on the part of domestic consumers.
The report stresses that planning for the European agricultural model should take account of the most frequent and acute environmental hazards as well as water scarcity and drought and that, in that context, an effective crisis management mechanism should constitute a fundamental element of the CAP.
MEPs take the view that the environmental value of forests and agricultural production must be reassessed in a context of climate change where it is absolutely vital to balance the increase in greenhouse gas emissions with an increase in forest cover, whose contribution as a carbon sink must be taken into account in all policies on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The European Parliament supports the Commission's commitment to continue to highlight the challenge of water scarcity and drought at international level, in particular through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.