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Floods And Drought – Another Crazy Summer

  • July 24th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

uk-flood-07-reduced.jpgWhile British householders scrambled onto rooftops during landmark unseasonal floods this week, citizens elsewhere in Europe have been battling unaccustomed and in places very severe drought.

In Greece the problem has been exacerbated by wild fires throughout the Summer to date, with the government there now asking the European Commission for extra help.

European authorities in Brussels have started public consultations on stepped-up new policies for dealing with water problems, in response to effects of climate change, growing population and chronic wastage – citing estimates that 40% of water supplied is (as it were) going down the drain.

They say that programs already in place for several years have concentrated on very uneven quality standards across Europe, and the need to provide more water for drinking, farming and forestry.

Extension of those policies will need to be on a “user pays” basis, with extensive metering, to provide the money needed, and a real incentive to water wasters to mend their ways.

New generation water saving devices in household plumbing and draining are also being introduced.

A communiqué from the European Commission Directorate General on Environment outlined growing problems:

“So far this year, Romania has suffered its worst drought in 60 years and Greece its worst heatwave in 110 years, with many outbreaks of forest fires. The Netherlands also suffered drought conditions in April with a meagre 1mm of rainfall, compared to its normal 44mm.

“Water scarcity and droughts are becoming increasingly common across Europe. According to EU figures , there have been significant increases over the last three decades in the annual average EU territory and population affected by drought (from 6% to 13%), costing the European economy at least €100-billion (A$156-billion; dcerates.com).

“Recent trends suggest shortages will become more prevalent across Europe in coming years. One of the most widespread droughts was in 2003, affecting over 100 million people and about a third of the EU’s land area, and costing €8.7-billion (A$13.6-billion).”

In Britain this week, it is a case of too much water continuing. Thousands remained (23.7.07) without electricity or mains water because of the effects of unseasonal wild weather with heavy rain and flooding.

At least another two days of heavy rain or showers were being forecast for most areas.

Reference: EC, “Water shortages – EU to act”, http://ec.europa.eu/news/environment/070719_1_en.htm (23.7.07)

Picture: James Kelly, [email protected]

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