One fourth of all water abstracted in the EU is used for agriculture, mainly for irrigation. Many regions are already affected by water scarcity and climate change is likely to exacerbate this. The Water Framework Directive sets a target of good status for all water bodies by 2027 but there are significant delays in reaching this target. Common agricultural policy (CAP) support to farmers affects agricultural water use in different ways. We found that agricultural policies were not consistently aligned with EU water policy. We recommend that Member States better justify exemptions to Water Framework Directive implementation in agriculture and that the Commission links CAP payments to environmental standards on sustainable water use.
ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.
Special Report 20/2021: Sustainable water use in agriculture: CAP funds more likely to promote greater rather than more efficient water use