Challenges of Developing an EU Strategic Approach to Water Scarcity

The introduction in 2000 of the Water Framework Directive provided the first coherent EU legal tool to address water scarcity and this has been supported by further policy aimed directly at water scarcity. However, there are also many other policy issues which need to be addressed to tackle water scarcity, such as agriculture and domestic water use. Such policies must include investment in innovation, new infrastructure, water saving technology, implementation of full cost recovery for water supply and, not least, strict regulation. The complexity of the policy environment and the complexity of the dynamic social and economic interaction with hydrological systems present a major challenge for addressing water scarcity. This paper, given at the 4th International Conference on Water Scarcity and Arid Environments, describes the challenges of addressing this complex policy landscape.