Water is a fundamental need for everyone and a key resource for many economic sectors, in particular agriculture and industry. The need for water poses a series of tremendous challenges in many areas of Europe: structural scarcity which might lead to desertification and occasional scarcity, linked to changes in the hydrological cycle and precipitation patterns, leading to drought. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these phenomena.
To address these challenges, water policy must promote efficient and sustainable management of water resources and the local and regional authorities have a role to play in this context. The European Commission carried out a review of EU water policy by 2012 as part of the "Resource Efficiency" Flagship Initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy, and so the Committee of the Regions has adopted an Outlook Opinion on "The role of regional and local authorities in promoting a sustainable water policy" at its plenary session in June 2011. The Rapporteur for this Opinion, which has been requested by the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was Mr. Nichi Vendola (IT/PES), President of the Region of Puglia, member of the CoR ENVE Commission and the political coordinator of the Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform.