Thursday, 28 July 2011 08:47
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Opinion Committee of the Regions on the role of local and regional authorities in water management
Europe must do more to ensure the sustainable use of water or risk failure in its battle against climate change and an increasing risk of both droughts and floods. This was the message from the Committee of the Regions recently following the adoption of an opinion drafted by Nichi Vendola (IT/PES), President of the Puglia region, which also calls for a multi-level, cross-border approach to the management of river basins and proposes extending the Covenant of Mayors to include sustainable water use.
"Water should be seen as a human right, and we have a duty to ensure that we preserve it for current and future generations," said Vendola. "That means taking bold steps – for example, setting targets for water efficiency – and adopting a truly multi-level governance approach involving European, national, regional and local authorities to the management of each water basin. In this context, well-functioning public services that provide access to water play a vital role. Preserving water should also be seen as an integral and vital part of Europe's efforts to combat the impact of climate change, which has not really been the case up to now."
The opinion on the role of local and regional authorities in the sustainable use of water was requested by the Hungarian EU Presidency and handed over to the Polish Presidency to influence the Commission’s Blueprint Strategy 2012. Aqua Publica Europea has already met with Nichi Vendola to contribute to this opinon.
The Committee's opinion also proposes setting targets for 2020 similar to those on energy consumption: a 20% increase in water-saving in all sectors; a 20% increase in the number of water courses being renaturalised to reduce flood risk and a 20% increase in the volume of water re-used and/or recycled in farming and industry. As a result, Vendola's opinion calls for the Covenant of Mayors, which has already seen more than 2500 local and regional authorities pledge to go beyond the 2020 energy targets, to expand its focus in order to include the issue of water as well.
The Opinion will be available in all language versions from 16 July on our website http://coropinions.cor.europa.eu/CORopinions.aspx (opinion number 8, year 2011).
Français : Vous trouverez sur ce lien un article du Comité des Régions de l’Union Européenne sur le thème « Le rôle des autorités locales et régionales dans la gestion de l’eau » qui a été adoptée récemment (version en anglais « opinion on the role of local and regional authorities in the sustainable use of water”).
Le rapporteur est Nichi Vendola, qu’Aqua Publica Europea avait rencontré au début de cette année pour établir un premier contact et lui fournir des informations de notre réseau et des contributions pour cette opinion. Cette opinion du CdR sera transmise à la Commission Européenne comme contribution à la production de la Stratégie Blue Print 2012 (ou APE est impliquée déjà).