Navigating Regional Realities Amid Water Scarcity in Europe

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EU funded project Climate IMPETUS to host online discussion “Navigating Regional Realities Amid Water Scarcity in Europe” with climate adaptation and water resilience experts as part of the EU Green Week.

On June 13, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM, we invite you to join us for the EU Green Week partner event: “Navigating Regional Realities Amid Water Scarcity in Europe”. This event, part of the #WaterWiseEU campaign, promises to be an enlightening and engaging experience focused on raising awareness about water scarcity, sharing testimonials from those impacted and introduce some of the possible solutions for sustainable water management in future.

Why Attend?

Water is a fundamental resource essential for life, the environment, and the economy. However, Europe faces increasing challenges with water management due to climate change, pollution, and ecosystem degradation. This session will delve into the regional realities of water scarcity in Europe and shed light on some of the innovative strategies and collaborative efforts developed by the EU funded IMPETUS and ARSIONE projects aimed at ensuring a resilient and sustainable future for Europe’s water resources.

Event Highlights:

  • Welcome by Josep Pijuan Parra, Eurecat:  Josep Pijuan Parra, coordinator of the IMPETUS project, will introduce that session and set the tone for the day’s discussions.
  • Key Presentations: Learn from leading experts about real-world solutions being trailed across Europe:
    • Valle dei Laghi, Italy: Giorgia Robbiati from BIM Sarca-Mincio-Garda will discuss improving agricultural water management in the face of rapid climate change in mountainous regions.
    • Catalan Coast, Spain: Gabriel Borràs from the Oficina Catalana del Canvi Climàtic will share strategies to address chronic water scarcity in a popular tourist region.
    • Attica, Greece: Klio Monokrousou from the National Technical University of Athens will explore innovative water reuse technologies to tackle water scarcity in urban and rural settings.
    • Berlin, Germany: (TBC) Daniel Wicke from KWB is expected to present on “decision theatres” that offer a novel approach to engage stakeholders in for managing reduced water availability in a city like Berlin.
    • Main River Basin, Germany: Marion Zilker from VKU and representative of the EU funded ARSIONE project will discuss integrated water management solutions in a densely populated and intensively used area.
  • Panel Discussion and Q&A: Engage with experts during a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Joana Diaz Pont from Eurecat. Share your thoughts, ask questions, and explore the barriers and opportunities identified by stakeholders in the water management sector.

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Be Part of the Change

This event is more than just a discussion—it’s a call to action. By attending, you’ll be part of a larger movement to foster awareness and promote collaborative solutions for water resilience. Whether you’re a policymaker, researcher, environmental advocate, or concerned citizen, your participation can help drive positive change.

Event Details:

  • Date: June 13, 2024
  • Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Location: Online

How to Register

To register for this event and join the conversation, visit the EU GREEN WEEK WEBSITE  

Spread the Word

Help us reach a wider audience by sharing this event with your network. Together, we can build a water-resilient Europe.

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High temperatures

Record-breaking summertime temperatures have been recorded in the Netherlands in recent years. With global temperatures rising, such extreme weather events will occur more often, and for longer periods. Prolonged high temperatures, with warm nights as well as hot days, can cause heat stress* and related health issues, particularly among city populations.

*Heat stress occurs when the human body cannot get rid of excess heat and can impact wellbeing through conditions such as heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps and rashes.

"We want to enable municipality decision makers who are working on spatial developments to identify heat stress 'hot spots' and cool areas, analyse the future effects of climate change, and model the effect of different heat stress-reducing measures. The tool must provide them with an easy starting point to integrate heat stress risks in their projects."

Issue

Despite the cooling effect of the sea in the region of Zeeland, the growing risk of heat stress has become a concern.

Elderly and other vulnerable people are more impacted by the effects of prolonged heat, which can cause headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other health issues – even death. Excess temperatures also affect general comfort and liveability of cities. Water quality can be reduced, both for drinking and swimming, and infrastructure can be affected. Buildings and concrete surfaces trap heat, potentially leading to damage, and release it during the night, keeping temperatures warm.

During heat waves, it is important that everyone has access to a cool and comfortable place. Appropriate spatial planning can help to decrease and deal with heat stress. Environmental factors like water bodies, trees, and shade have a major impact on stress caused by high temperatures. Therefore, planting trees, removing concrete surfaces, creating green roofs and cool spaces can improve our comfort and health. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for city planning to address these needs.

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Flood risk

By 2050, sea-level within this region is predicted to rise by 15-40 cm, with more frequent extreme weather and more (severe) storms triggered by climate change. These changes will exacerbate the natural risk of flooding in the IMPETUS ‘Atlantic’ region, because it is surrounded by rivers and the sea, and is below sea level.

*Risk takes into account two aspects; the chance that an event will occur and the negative impact of such an event once it occurs. When there is a low chance that an event will occur, but its impacts are huge, the risk is still significant.

“In the Netherlands, an extensive system of dikes protects us against sea and river flooding. We have always put our faith in this defence and focused almost solely on flood prevention. However, pressure on our system will increase with climate change and rising sea levels. To adapt and maintain a safe living environment, we should develop other safety measures, like more robust spatial planning and contingency plans."

Issue

Rotterdam city, is located in Rijnmond – ‘mouth of the Rhine’. The Rhine river flows through this densely populated area and characterises the region. Protections such as sea dikes and storm surge barriers have been constructed to protect the region, but flooding still occurs.

People living in the city are accustomed to seeing smaller floods. The changing climate affects the interplay between rainfall, river levels and sea storms, increasing the flooding risk. Water levels could rise by a few metres, even in populated areas, with potentially massive impacts. 

Mitigation measures such as storm surge barriers reduce the chance that high water reaches the city, but to minimise the impact of floods when they do occur, adaptation strategies are also needed. A city that can adapt to be safe from floods must be carefully designed. How best to design such an adaptive city?

Critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and evacuation routes, must be accessible at all times. Planning how to best protect them, homes and lives is complex. Flood water behaves in a complex way and flood risks show strong spatial variations. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for adaptive city planning. 

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Energy and waste water

To become climate-neutral by 2050, climate mitigation* efforts are crucial in our strategy for how to deal with climate change. Reducing our energy consumption is a significant mitigation step. In the Netherlands, 15% of energy is consumed in the Rijnmond area around the port of Rotterdam, in large part by a major petrochemical industry cluster.

*Climate mitigation encompasses measures such as technologies, processes, or practices that reduce carbon emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.

Issue

The Rotterdam port petrochemical industry cluster is Europe’s largest. It consumes 70% of the Rijnmond region’s energy. A large part of this energy is wasted (64%, 203 petajoules). More than half of that energy is lost with wastewater. In addition, most energy processes within these industries rely on fossil fuels, which has a significant impact on the climate.

Energy use must be minimised and fossil fuels should be replaced by renewable sources if climate change is to be mitigated. Electrification of processes opens up the possibility to use more renewable energy and can greatly impact decarbonisation. Recovering wasted heat would significantly reduce energy consumption and is a first step towards a more circular industry. 

Supporting industries in a transition towards climate-neutrality depends on identifying how best to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing production or performance. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is creating a digital tool that supports decision making about pathways towards an effective energy transition for EU industry.