Europe's global water risk – IMPREX Fact Sheet

Cover Europe's global water risk
adelphi 2019: Europe's global water risk . IMPREX Fact Sheet. Berlin: adelphi.

Water is a vital natural resource and, as such, an integral part of our environment and climate system. Excessive water exposure during flood conditions and water scarcity during droughts pose fundamental risks to life and weaken socio-economic resilience. Present-day water management in many sectors has to be able to cope with extreme hydrological conditions.

The European research project IMPREX (IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological EXtremes) was funded under the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The project consortium, consisting of 23 renowned partners from nine countries, took up the challenge of developing methods and tools to improve predictions of hydro-meteorological extremes. The research focused on adapting climate information to the needs of six core sectors: flood risk assessments, hydropower, water transport, urban water management, agriculture and droughts. 

adelphi has developed a fact sheet for each sector. These describe and explain the most important products, provide practical examples, analyse implementation challenges for practitioners and show how IMPREX products can facilitate processes. The fact sheets are based on the work carried out within the context of the IMPREX research project and interviews with involved stakeholders.

The sources of vulnerabilities to extreme weather events, which many economic sectors experience, often lie outside of Europe. In a globalized, highly connected world, dependence on raw material imports, supply/demand relations and trade balances are intensifying. This fact sheet presents two IMPREX approaches which support operational efficiency and help reduce the European economy’s vulnerability to hydro-meteorological extremes occurring worldwide, in particular drought and flood events.

The WAter, Trade and Economy tool (WATE), developed by FutureWater, assesses water dependencies of various economic sectors and the vulnerability of their supply chains to drought and water scarcity. The tool captures country profiles of water dependencies and vulnerabilities and generates maps of the vulnerability of imported goods to drought severity and water scarcity in different periods.

In IMPREX, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) further developed the loss propagation and agent-based model Acclimate. Acclimate analyses cascades of economic losses induced by climate shocks (primarily floods) in a global supply network. The tool simulates indirect and direct effects along global supply chains. The time scales range from days to months after flood events.

This fact sheet presents a fictitious use case presenting the application of the tool WATE in a European chocolate producing company. The aim is to analyse the company’s dependencies and vulnerabilities to weather extremes under changing climate conditions in order identify adequate adaptation  measures.

Further fact sheets from this project:

Policy recommendations:

Comprehensive brochure: