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Water stress is a growing concern in Europe, partly due to the changing climate context. Despite the cross-cutting impacts that water availability has on different areas under the competence of the European Union (EU), there is not currently a comprehensive and systematic legal framework addressing this issue. The purpose of this article is therefore to examine the EU legislation that concerns the measures aimed at mitigating these risks. To this purpose, it is first examined how droughts and water scarcity are framed within EU legal acts. Based on such an overview, the analysis is directed to the mechanisms developed at the EU level for monitoring, identifying and forecasting water stress risks, as well as the legal provisions relating to the planning tools. The remainder of the article is devoted to the regulation of preventative measures for water scarcity and drought risk reduction, following the water hierarchy resulting from COM(2007) 414.
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