Keith welcomes call for European action on water scarcity and droughts

4 July 2012

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Yesterday the parliament voted on a resolution which emphasised that water is a shared resource of humankind and a public good and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. 

The report highlights that about 20% of water in the EU is lost due to inefficiency and that improving efficient water use is key to tackling the problems of water scarcity and drought. It states that as much as 70% of the water supplied to European cities is lost as a result of leaks in the water system and insists on the urgent need to conduct an audit on the state of the European water network to assess quality, degeneration and interconnectivity.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Keith said: "As MEP for the South East region, which is very susceptible to drought, I am very pleased that the European Parliament has today called for new EU laws which would encourage greater action on water shortages, droughts and adapting to climate change. Water is a precious natural resource and it's crucial that we work to conserve water and to better manage the distribution of water around our towns and cities. In the South East, Southern Water alone lost 96m litres a day last year through leaky pipes. It's time for water companies to seriously invest in tackling these leaks."

Keith continued: "I'm pleased that my suggestion to recognise the importance of good water systems in buildings and public areas, to help reduce the need for bottled water, was included in this resolution. I'm keen for the European Parliament to take heed of this recommendation as shockingly over 1 million plastic water bottles were used in the buildings in 2011. I'm supporting a campaign to end this wasteful practice and am calling for the use of more sustainable alternatives, such as drinking fountains."

Keith also welcomed the broad-ranging report's warning of risks posed to surface and ground water by shale gas exploration and extraction and the calls for the European Commission to ensure that environmental impact assessments are carried out before fracking takes place. The report also highlights the importance of sustainable tourism for water conservation and the potential for job creation in research and innovation on water efficiency.

The resolution looks at how current EU laws are implemented and will also feed into a European Commission strategy, ‘Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources', which the European Commission is due to present by the end of this year.

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