Drinking water accounts for around 18% of the total fresh water abstractions in the European Union. It is treated and supplied by almost 70,000 utilities, making water an important environmental, social and economic sector.
Performance efficiency in water utilities has been traditionally associated with good water quality and reliability in providing a continuous supply of safe and clear water. Environmental and financial impacts have often been underestimated.
While our freshwater resources are already limited, they face additional and increasing pressures from drought, flooding, pollution, population growth, and competition from other uses, such as ecosystem protection, agriculture, energy production and recreation.
The more sustainable and efficient use of electricity and chemicals in water treatment operations has been identified as one of the biggest challenges for the water sector, together with intensifying water resources protection and management into sectorial policies.
Water management has strong interactions with energy, climate change, agriculture and industry. As it evolves into an integrated evaluation of pressures and competing water needs against social and environmental concerns in large hydrologic units, such as water catchments, there is a growing need for all stakeholders to adapt.
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