This report makes the case for an integrated water management, starting with better implementation of existing legislation. Clean water is a vitally important natural resource, demanding careful management. It is essential for life and integral to virtually all economic activities, including producing food, energy and industrial outputs. The availability of clean water in sufficient quantities is not only a prerequisite for human health and well-being but also essential for freshwater ecosystems and the many services that they provide.
Managing water sustainably in a 'green' economy means using water more efficiently in all sectors and ensuring that ecosystems have the quantity and quality of water needed to function effectively. Water ecosystems are vital assets, delivering essential services to our societies and economies, and thereby playing a key role in European productivity and security. It is thus essential that our use of water does not exceed ecosystem sustainability boundaries.
Although water quality has improved in recent years, water resources are over-exploited in many areas of Europe. Together with continued shortcomings in water quality and hydromorphological alterations, this has had heavy impacts on the status of Europe's water bodies.