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2.1.        Context: water scarcity and drought in EU water policy

Water stands amongst the oldest and most advanced policy areas in the EU environmental acquis (Josefsson, 2012; Giakoumis and Voulvoulis, 2018). Since 2000, the EU Water Framework Directive – WFD (2000/60/EC) is Europe’s flagship legislation on water, under which the wide variety of EU regulatory instruments, strategies and policy mechanisms that have emerged and evolved over decades are coordinated. Under the WFD, the EU has set an overall aim to “ensure access to good quality water in sufficient quantity for all Europeans, and to ensure the good status of all water bodies across Europe” (EC, 2000). Article 1 of the WFD requires the Member States to "promote the sustainable use of water resources based on the long-term protection of available water resources" and "ensure a balance between abstraction and recharge of groundwater, with the aim of achieving good status of groundwater bodies". Through these requirements the WFD sets the basis for action against water stress and drought, and it underscores the relation between water quantity, water quality and ecological status. The Fitness Check of EU Water Legislation also concluded that the WFD provides a flexible and suitable frame for the planning and management of drought risk and the impacts of water scarcity events (EC, 2019f).

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