RECOMMENDATION 1232 (1994)[1]

on the management of water resources in relation to agriculture


  1. The Assembly draws attention to its Freshwater Europe action programme on the management of freshwater resources, which examined agriculture's problems and responsibilities regarding the protection and management of water, which is a vital resource.

  2. The Assembly takes satisfaction in Recommendation 1224 (1993) on the protection and management of freshwater resources in Europe which was adopted as a result of that programme, and stresses the need for pan-European policy initiatives in this field and for appropriate actions to be undertaken by the Council of Europe.

  3. The Assembly also reiterates its conviction that policies to preserve the natural environment are necessary for the preservation of freshwater resources.

  4. Access for all people to enough food for an active and healthy life (a fundamental human right) is jeopardised by an increasing scarcity of drinking water which, in certain regions of the world, could lead to serious conflicts.

  5. The Assembly welcomes the fact that one of the two themes of the 10th European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning (CEMAT) (Oslo, 6-7 September 1994) will be "Strategies for rational and sustainable management of water resources".

  6. Consequently, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

  1. promote the integration of nature conservation, land use, agricultural and water management policies taking account of the need to save water and to develop the construction of reservoirs, and include activities designed to promote this goal in the Council of Europe's intergovernmental work programme;

  2. increase and improve public information and specialised education and training for integrated, sustainable water management;

  3. promote adherence to the principles laid down in the European Water Charter;

  4. invite governments of member states and the European Union:

  1. to work for the development and inclusion of sustainable water management policies in agriculture, as well as for an integrated water resources management policy encompassing all other areas, and to set up administrative bodies to this end;

  2. to make sure that management of water resources is made an integral part of regional planning policy;

  3. to promote reforestation and other vegetation programmes to increase moisture and available water on land;

  4. to adapt agricultural practices to local climatic conditions _ if necessary to be supported by new research and development;

  5. to promote programmes and research to avoid or reverse soil erosion;

  6. to make sure that food security will not be negatively affected by lack of sufficient water of acceptable quality;

  7. to increase the efficiency of irrigation systems and minimise water losses;

  8. to promote water desalination and purification technologies;

  9. to continue and strengthen research and development programmes for the breeding of plants capable of using waste and/or salty waters;

  10. to monitor the use of, and if need be modify, agricultural inputs (fertilisers, pesticides, etc.) to avoid any pollution arising from their use;

  11. to create, wherever needed, socio-economic and technological capacities to prevent or contain human and ecological tragedies caused by sudden changes in water availability (quality and/or quantity);

  12. to inform consumers on food quality and its dependence on the water used for its production, for example through labelling.

[1] Assembly debate on 27 January 1994 (7th Sitting) (see Doc. 6980, report of the Committee on Agriculture, Rapporteur: Mr Müller).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 1994 (7th Sitting).