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Potočnik signals crackdown on farming water use

May 14th, 2010 |

Brussels, 14 May 2010. On Wednesday, 5 May 2010, the EP Intergroup on Water convened at the European Parliament in Brussels for its 4th meeting. Key note speaker was Mr. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment on “The key challenges for water policy integration”.

In a speech on the key challenges for EU water policy, Mr. Potočnik told the European Parliament’s Intergroup that using less water was a priority. The commissioner pointed the finger at farmers, saying water use in Agriculture must become more efficient and be priced adequately.  “There is no sense in water pricing in agriculture being based on a fixed amount per irrigated hectare, rather than on actual water consumption”, the Commissioner said. Incentives must be provided. A crackdown on illegal abstraction, adequate pricing and better choice of crops were the key measures needed in EU agriculture, he said.

Mr. Potočnik outlined the key elements of an EU blueprint to safeguard European waters, due in 2012. It will focus on implementation problems and possible solutions, filling in legislative gaps and improving information gathering and analysis, he said.

Mr. Potočnik also urged member states to minimise their use of exemptions under the water framework directive and called on them to deliver “ambitious [river basin management] plans”. He confirmed that 13 member states have yet to submit plans.

To read the full speech, please click here.

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