Water and agriculture: towards sustainable solutions

Reducing pressures from agriculture is key to improving the status of Europe’s rivers, lakes, transitional, coastal waters and seas as well as groundwater bodies. A European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment, published today, shows that wider uptake of sustainable agricultural management practices is needed for improving the state of water, as well as biodiversity. Agricultural management practices should be based on agroecological principles, organic farming and nature-based solutions, the EEA report ‘Water and agriculture; towards sustainable solutions,’ says. To achieve this, more ambitious measures to promote sustainable agriculture are needed in the upcoming EU common agricultural policy 2021-2027. Recent EEA studies have shown that many of Europe’s surface and groundwaters are not in good status and the state of Europe’s regional seas is alarming. Agricultural activities are an important source of pressures on Europe’s waters, due to nutrient and chemical pollution, water abstraction and physical changes in habitats, including through water storage and land drainage. Responding to these challenges is urgent, since climate change impacts in parts of Europe are exacerbating pressures on water and pose a risk to agricultural production.

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