Empirical Insight into the Water Stress Challenges of South Europe

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Abstract

Water stress occurs when the need for water surpasses its availability or when the water quality limits its use. Droughts and limited water supplies are becoming common in today’s Europe, and its inhabitants experience such conditions annually. The rise in industrial growth and economic progress, which amplifies water consumption, changes in water ecosystems, and significant biodiversity loss contribute to this water shortage. This study analyzes the main factors for the level of water stress and lack of water in southern European countries. It aims to provide a clear overview of a twenty-year analysis of water stress contributing through statistical evaluations that help continental policymaking. Data proceedings are time series indicators for South European countries, with an annual frequency from 2002 to 2021. The statistical approach in the panel data model is used to find statistical significance, direct on-driven fixed factors, and so on. Fixed effects panel regressions demonstrate that the level of water stress in these countries is statistically significantly affected by climate change indicators (temperature and precipitation), economic indicators (water productivity and growth of the gross domestic product), and political stability. Factors such as population growth and agricultural land are statistically ambiguous and not strongly correlated with water stress. Governments should establish effective management systems and policies for water resources to address water stress, including groundwater, surface water, and rainwater. Dictated by the global and continental circumstances of climate change, governments should initiate strategic, efficient plans toward good use and sustainability of water.