Like North America, most of the population of Europe has access to clean water and adequate sanitation. A major problem plaguing Europe is water loss due to leaking infrastructure. The piping systems in France and Spain, for instance, lose approximately 30 percent of water before it ever reaches the user.
Because of the differences in population density in certain countries, Europe’s per capita water availability varies significantly from place to place. Overall, however, Europe uses a relatively small amount of its available water compared with other places in the world. Still, climate change and some unsustainable practices put European countries at risk for water scarcity problems.
Because a fourth or more of the water extracted from the environment in Europe is used for agriculture, scientists and farmers are exploring innovative techniques and technologies to reduce the amount of water used for farmland irrigation.