U.S. Water News Online
GENEVA -- Building more dams will do little to solve water
shortages in large areas of Europe and could even reduce the
continent's scarce remaining resources, a Switzerland-based
conservation group said.
Authorities across the continent are suggesting creating more
reservoirs to boost supplies during future droughts, but this is a
wrong move because they lose large amounts of water through surface
evaporation, said the World Wide Fund for Nature.
"We have to find better solutions for long-term water supply
within Europe before our rivers turn to trickles," said Ute Collier,
an expert on water supply at WWF. "Europe is not suffering from a
shortage of dams or reservoirs, it's suffering from a waste of
Large parts of Southern Europe as well as Britain are suffering
from severe shortages for the second time in two years after
persistent hot weather followed months of low rainfall.
In particular, Britain, Portugal and Spain are all considering
building more dams as a long-term measure to relieve future droughts,
"With Europe in the grips of another sizzling summer, authorities
need to convert plans for dams and reservoirs into plans for
improving water efficiency and restoring wetlands and fragmented
rivers," Collier said.
Authorities have already urged consumers to cut back on water
usage. London mayor Ken Livingstone has even told Londoners to flush
their toilets less often.
But rather than increasing the number of storage reservoirs,
authorities should cut down on water wastage as large volumes are
lost through inefficient irrigation of farm land and leakage from
pipes supplying big cities, Collier said.
"This problem isn't going away as climate change is likely to
increase the occurrence of droughts in Europe and elsewhere," she
added. "No matter how many more (dams) you are going to build, it
just seems crazy when you don't actually address those big
The destruction of wetlands is also adding to the crisis, as they
hold water like sponges and cannot be replicated by manmade storage
facilities, WWF said.
Supplies are particularly low in England, France, Italy, Portugal
and Spain. In Italy, the River Po is drying up while Spain's
reservoir levels are down by an average of 40 percent from last year,
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