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Box 5.1 Examples of experienced Economic Impacts of WS&D in EU Member States


In Slovenia the direct economic cost of the 2003 drought (mainly loss of agricultural production and aid to farmers) reached 100 Mio€ (Sušnik and Kurnik 2005). ‘Damages due to drought in years 2000 – 2006 summed up to 247 M€; 86 M€ were allocated in national budget and spent for recovery measures; 3 M€ were allocated for preparedness measures. This ratio is not acceptable from public finances’ point of view’. (Gregorič 2009).

In Romania the drought of 2003 affected mainly agricultural production (i.e. wheat: 2500t/ha and rice: 0.5t/ha comparing to 7000t/ha and 0.5t/ha respectively of a normal year) (Anon. 2009)

In Portugal, during the summer of 2005, large amounts of crops were destroyed because of drought (60% loss of wheat and 80% loss of maize productions) (Isendahl and Schmidt 2006). The costs were over 500 Mio€.

The drought of spring 2011 had various impacts on farmers in different regions of the United Kingdom. Field vegetables were reported to be affected in Yorkshire (later harvesting period, lower quality), yields of grazed and harvested grass for livestock production were reduced in parts of the south east, midlands and east of England, horticultural and cereal crops were also affected in some parts of southern and eastern England and voluntary restrictions on spray irrigators were implemented in the Fens.


During nine summer periods between 1979 and 2007 the German government had to reduce production of nuclear power due to high temperatures of water and/or low water flow rates (Müller, Greis, and Rothstein 2007). The reduction of power output of the Unterweser nuclear power plant was reported at 90% between June and September 2003, while the Isar nuclear power plant cut production by 60% for 14 days due to excessively high temperatures and low stream flow rates in the river Isar in 2006 (Förster and Lilliestam 2010).

The drought of 2002-2003 affected most of Norway, Sweden and Finland with a considerable decrease in hydropower production and a consequent increase in the price of electricity (Kuusisto 2004).

Due to 2003 drought and heat wave France faced a 15 % reduction in its nuclear power generation capacity for five weeks, and a 20 % reduction in its hydroelectric production (Hightower and Pierce 2008 in Rübbelke, Vögele, and Centre for European Policy Studies 2011). During the 2009 summer heat wave, due to cooling water shortages the nuclear power generation industry in France, the biggest European electricity exporter, faced a shortage of about 8 GW resulting in import of electricity from Great Britain (Pagnamenta, 2009 in Rübbelke, Vögele, and Centre for European Policy Studies, 2011).

In Portugal, during the summer of 2005, hydropower production was reported to be 54% lower than the average, and 37% lower than in 2004. The costs of the 2004 and 2005 droughts on public water supply, industry and energy and agriculture were over 300 Mio€. (EC 2007a)


In the Netherlands, during dry periods, low river discharges cause restrictions in the inland navigation sector leading to an important increase of cost. According to the Netherlands national drought study the long-term average annual cost due to low water levels in the navigation sector is estimated at 70 Mio€, while the total cost can increase up to 800 Mio€ in a year with extremely low discharge conditions.

In May 2011, river Rhine and river Meuse discharge was decreased by 58% and 68% respectively in comparison with the long term monthly average (van Loon 2011). As a result, the German Federal Hydrological Agency reported that ships on these rivers were forced to navigate at 20-50% of their capacity (Vidal 2011).

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