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New study reveals Europe’s rivers under pressure

February 6, 2012

Catalonian mountain stream. Image: Nuria Bonada

A new press release from the European Commission states that: “the largest investigation to date into the extent of human-induced pressure on European rivers concludes that around 80% of rivers are affected by water pollution, water removal for hydropower and irrigation, structural alterations and the impact of dams, with 12% suffering from impacts of all four“.

The journal article “Multiple human pressures and their spatial patterns in European running waters” published in Water and Environment Journal by Rafaela Schinegger and colleagues at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna assessed human pressures on freshwater ecosystems at 9330 riverine sites across 14 European countries.  The study is part of the EU EFI+ project and is designed to give a high-resolution, European-scale assessment of the human threats to river ecosystems as a means of supporting the European Water Framework Directive.

Human pressures on freshwater ecosystems are only likely to increase in the future, meaning this study is important in providing an ecological baseline for rivers to be appropriately managed in the future.  The findings will help allow vulnerable freshwater ecosystems to be identified, monitored and conserved under the river-basin system of management outlined by the Water Framework Directive.

You can read a summary of the paper through DG Environment or access the main paper at Water and Environment Journal.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Caroline Eggart permalink
    February 18, 2013 07:47

    Most people have some idea of what the term water pollution means. The most obvious definition is anything that makes water unsuitable to drink or negatively impacts the marine life that lives in it. In more scientific terms, water pollutants can be put into a few basic categories.One of the categories, or classes of water pollutants are wastes that enter a water source a deplete it of oxygen. Some compounds naturally bond with oxygen and other wastes foster the growth of bacteria that consume oxygen. When bacteria build up in the water they use up the waters oxygen supply and all other animals that rely on the waters oxygen supply die.-

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