The world's population is projected to grow from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8.9 billion by 2050. Population increase will be dramatic in some urban areas, resulting in escalating demands for food, water supplies and sanitation services. This development implies a greater need for agricultural and urban water, and an increased capacity for treatment of pollutants. Climate change is projected to increase water shortages, with more frequent and severe droughts projected for many parts of Europe. Flood hazards are also projected to increase across much of Europe, particularly in its central, eastern and northern parts.
These changes present a grand challenge that has outstanding economic, ecological, technological and societal implications. Consequently, action is needed at the European and World level to ensure sustainability of water use, to protect life and to fuel water technology markets. Multi-disciplinary research, development and innovation are required to generate the knowledge required to address the challenge and to set it in sustainable action.
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