Floods, droughts and heavy precipitation, together known as extreme weather events, are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change. Between 1998 and 2007, in Europe alone, these events caused approximately € 13.7 billion in terms of economic losses, which were largely uninsured. Over the same period the European Environment Agency reported that the average number of annual disastrous weather and climate-related events in Europe increased by approximately 65%. Floods and droughts are considered the most economically and socially destructive of all natural disasters accounting for about 90% of people affected by natural disasters. Globally, by 2030 the damage from floods and droughts may exceed € 410 billion, primarily from floods.
Extreme weather events can have major implications for the performance of water and waste water infrastructure and services and the availability of safe water for drinking water and domestic use). Related to sanitation, post-flood areas show a significant occurrence of water-related infectious diseases. Disease outbreaks following heavy precipitation or floods are often the result of contamination of the drinking-water supply systems due to increased run-off or inundation in the catchment area. During droughts drinking water availability and quality can be affected. Providing adequate services can be challenging.
In response to extreme events, adaptation strategies are being developed and implemented at policy level but also by drinking water and sanitation service providers. Water safety plans (WSPs) and sanitation safety plans (SSPs), as recommended by the World Health Organization, offer comprehensive risk-based management tools to enhance these efforts focusing on preventive measures and emergency response and preparedness planning. During the pan-European Symposium Water and Sanitation Safety Planning and Extreme Weather Events, cross-cutting topics will be addressed by climate, health and water researchers and practitioners. Presentations and panel discussions will be organized with water and sanitation professionals and regulators, with experience in addressing extreme weather events, with a special focus on speakers and cases from the pan-European region (EU & EECA region). This event therefore presents a unique opportunity to share knowledge and experiences from within the region and to advance the topic of resilient planning for water supply and sanitation services. Working languages of the symposium are English and Russian.