Enough water – longer dry phases

Water is one of the essen­tial foun­da­tions of agri­cul­ture. How will its avail­ability in Europe develop in the future? Our info­graphics provide an overview.

In large parts of Europe, there will continue to be suffi­cient precip­i­ta­tion for plants in the future. At the same time, climate projec­tions show a higher frequency of droughts – in almost all Euro­pean regions. Sustain­able rain­water storage and even more effi­cient irri­ga­tion will there­fore become increas­ingly impor­tant for the compet­i­tive­ness of Euro­pean farmers.

Water demand of culti­vated plants

500 – 800
600 – 1.000
400 – 800
450 – 650
350 – 500

mm over the entire growth period

Source: FAO

Fore­cast increase in drought frequency by 2100

Given the current devel­op­ment of green­house gas emis­sions, an increase in the frequency of droughts is expected by the end of the century.

Source: „Will drought events become more frequent and severe in Europe?“, Inter­na­tional journal of Clima­tology, Volume 38, Issue 4, 2018. Fore­cast for the RCP-8.5 emis­sions scenario, refer­ence values 1981-2010.


Water extrac­tion for agri­cul­tural use in Europe

Devel­op­ment 1990 to 2015 in billion litres/year

Eastern Europe
from 13,808.2
to 3,449.4
Southern Europe
from 58,059.8
Western Europe
from 6,917.8
Northern Europe
from 1,523.4

The effi­ciency of irri­ga­tion in the EU has improved: in 2013, with a similar gross value added, water use was 9% lower than in 2005. But further progress is needed: at current emis­sion trends, water demand will increase by more than 25% in most irri­gated regions of Europe by the end of the century.

Source: Euro­pean Envi­ron­ment Agency

Projected change in precip­i­ta­tion levels by the end of the century


Only parts of southern Europe expe­ri­ence a decrease in annual precip­i­ta­tion. The decrease in summer rain­fall is more wide­spread, however. France and England will have simi­larly rainy winters, but summers will be much drier. Despite an increased risk of drought, Central Europe will receive more precip­i­ta­tion overall.

Source: EURO-CORDEX 2017


New temperature records after heat wave 2019

(in °C, measured 24.-25.07.2019)

46,0France42,6Germany41,8Belgium40,7The Nether­lands

Europe has expe­ri­enced nine heat waves since 2000 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). In the highest green­house gas emis­sion scenario, similar or stronger heat waves are expected every two years from 2050 onwards.