Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Thursday, 6 December 2012

EU freshwater policy debate

The Labour peer, Lord Carter of Coles, has warned that droughts could increase across Europe, unless more is done to improve water management.

Speaking during a debate on 5 December 2012, he drew attention to an EU report An Indispensable Resource: EU Freshwater Policy on freshwater water policies, published in May 2012.

Members of the House of Lords' EU committee - of which Lord Cater is a member - have argued that large parts of Europe, including England, are suffering from water stress and that urgent planning is needed now to mitigate for "an uncertain future".

The report welcomes the government's white paper on water, published last year, aimed at making changes to protect the "precious resource" of water.

But peers are critical of proposals to set a date in the mid to late 2020s for a new regime for water abstraction, saying it "failed to demonstrate a practical application" to the need for urgent and radical reform.

Lord Carter warned that "we must not be complacent", saying that droughts were starting to affect northern and eastern Europe - including the UK - rather than just the warmer countries in southern Europe.

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