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Since 2000, overall, water use efficiency has improved and resulted in decreasing total water abstraction in Europe. However, issue of water stress continues escalating. Climate change drives seasonal variations in water availability. At the same time, water demand is increasing for sectors such as agriculture in certain periods of the year e.g. increasing irrigation demand in spring and summer, when water availability is at its lowest level, particularly in southern Europe. This causes increasing competition for water among the economic sectors, often pushing users to shift from surface to groundwater resources and ultimately exerting pressure on water bodies and the ecosystems depending on them.

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