IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th August, 2023 Geography

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The challenges posed by severe heat waves, drought, and water scarcity in Europe, particularly during the year 2023.


  • Europe has witnessed recurrent severe heat waves and droughts, including in 2023.
  • Large parts of Central and Southern Europe are facing drought due to inadequate rainfall.
  • Countries like the Czech Republic and Lithuania experienced widespread drought

Challenges and Causes

  • Human-induced climate change contributes to Europe's water crisis by intensifying heat waves and droughts.
  • Growing demand for water is exacerbated by increased extraction by industry, agriculture, and households.
  • Industry, agriculture, and households extract 50%, 40%, and 10% of Europe's water resources respectively.

Water Scarcity Impact

  • In the European Union, 11% of citizens are affected by water scarcity.
  • Households may face water use restrictions due to falling water supplies.
  • Energy sector was impacted, as warm river water forced French authorities to shut down nuclear power plants.

Potential Solutions: Wastewater Reuse

  • Treated industrial and domestic wastewater could aid agriculture.
  • New EU regulations mandate processing wastewater for agricultural irrigation.
  • Reusing water could replace groundwater-based irrigation significantly, particularly in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece.

Concerns and Considerations

  • Water quality is crucial for safe wastewater reuse.
  • Proper filtration is necessary to prevent soil and plant contamination.
  • Some sectors lack suitable processing plants for safe wastewater treatment.
  • Transportation costs impact recycled water adoption in distant fields.

Complexities of Water Use Policy

  • EU's common agricultural policy (CAP) may inadvertently encourage excessive water use.
  • Efforts to optimize irrigation include efficient methods like drip irrigation.
  • Choosing less water-dependent crops, such as wheat or legumes, can conserve water.

Infrastructure and Conservation

  • Water transportation infrastructure maintenance is vital to prevent wastage.
  • Up to 25% of the EU's freshwater is lost due to leaky pipes.
  • Countries with water shortages invest less per citizen in leaky infrastructure repairs.


Q) Discuss the multifaceted nature of the water crisis in Europe, highlighting the factors contributing to its intensity. Analyze the potential solutions being explored to address the crisis, including the reuse of treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation. (250 words)