Urgency to Act Against Water Crisis



Water scarcity and drought is an increasingly frequent and widespread phenomenon in the European Union. Studies estimate, through the world’s first global survey of large cities’ water sources, that 1 in 4 cities already is seriously water stressed, with different cities facing various problems. Climate change will put even more pressure on cities, as it leads to increased risks of flooding, droughts, and heat waves.


The multitude of interconnected water problems faced by cities demands a structural and systemic approach to address and resolve as many issues as possible and put cities at the European forefront as circular water centres.  Rethinking urban water through the circular economy and resilience lenses offers an opportunity to tackle urban water challenges by providing a systemic and transformative approach to delivering water supply and sanitation services in a more sustainable, inclusive, efficient, and resilient way, recognizing, and capturing the full value of water.


Transnational Strategy

Water reuse in the EU today is far below its potential, therefore initiatives to address the problem of a too limited application of water reuse in EU are needed, to contribute significantly to alleviating water scarcity.


“The Transnational CWC strategy & policy recommendations for boosting circular water use in the CE region“ aims to contribute to EU’s efforts to stimulate and facilitate water reuse and rainwater use. It should serve to guide the cities and practitioners who are incorporating the principles in policies and strategies, planning, investment prioritization, and design and operations to achieve a fully circular and resilient water system.


The Strategy is introducing  elaborated national level regulatory & non-regulatory policy options on CE level to close identified gaps hindering circular water use, incorporated in three content sets:

  • Legislative policy measures: upon the need to improve existing bottlenecks.
  • Knowledge capacity and awareness raising policy measures: to improve knowledge and awareness deficit.
  • Governance policy measure: to improve existing governance principle (to tailor governance to the needs of circular economy approach).

Strategy was developed upon a bottom–up approach joining the individual base elements and characteristics of the existing systems of urban water management in partner regions, with emphasis on identifying the problems and gaps hindering its circularity, through the whole project implementation. First gaps and potentials were identified on local levels, in each of the involved FUAs,  later, project partners prepared a comprehensive assessment of laws, strategies, regulatory and non-regulatory measures applied in the 6 CE countries involved (Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Poland and Croatia), with the aim of elaborating national level policy recommendations comprising of all of the previously explored elements and further discussed on national roundtables discussions in order to form a complexed and complete top-level system.

For further information and learning about circular water use in CE regions, we invite you to check the whole document.