Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe
Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale
34. Water resources and water pollution J. Maestu, J.M. Gasco, J.M. Naredo and F. Aguilera 1. INTRODUCTION Water is important for economic, ecological and social reasons, and both quality and quantity are affected by human activities. This chapter stresses the pressures exerted on water resources from water abstraction, which is the critical issue in arid regions in Europe. In addition it is important to explain how pollutants from agriculture and urban uses limit the availability of water, and affect human health and the integrity of ecosystems. Water resources, water problems and pressures on the water environment vary across the different regions of Europe. This reﬂects the edaphoclimatic diversity of Europe. In this chapter we attempt to develop an argument about the differences between southern, central and northern Europe, and how pressures might need to be understood differently in each region. It is argued that water policy and the development of policy instruments in different countries reﬂect these differences already and that European water policy should be based on data and indicators that also reﬂect these differences. Good examples of the type of analysis that needs to be considered in building indicators can be found in the Dobrís Assessment (European Environment ˇˇ Agency, 1995a), which introduces this diversity using complex risk models and spatial analysis. This chapter reviews the current pressures on the water environment from different human activities and gives examples of how the diversity of edaphoclimatic conditions is important in understanding pressures on the aquatic environment....
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