Water supports life. It is a crucial resource for humanity, generating and sustaining economic and social prosperity. It is also at the core of natural ecosystems and climate regulation. The EU water framework directive (WFD), adopted in 2000, takes a pioneering approach to protecting water based on natural geographical formations: river basins. It sets out a precise timetable, with 2015 as the deadline for getting all European waters into good condition. Europe's water is under pressure. Economic activities, population growth and urbanisation are increasing pressures on freshwater throughout... Europe. Unless stronger action is taken, 47% of EU surface waters will not have good ecological status by 2015. About 25% of groundwaters have poor chemical status due to human activities. The chemical status of 40% of surface waters is unknown, showing that monitoring is inadequate in many Member States. The 2012 blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources identifies obstacles to better water management, offers concrete solutions and sets the EU's water policy agenda for years to come.