Water demand in Europe is still rising as result of population increase and associated land use change, e.g. more intensive agriculture (irrigation), industrialisation, urbanization. It significantly increases pressures on Europe's fresh water. In addition, it is likely that climate change will intensify the hydrological cycle, which probably will cause more severe droughts and floods. The need for sustainable water management and integrated disaster management to face these future developments is evident avoiding the increasing conflict between different stakeholders.
EURO-FRIEND is one of the initiatives being undertaken by European hydrologists to meet these challenges. This first FRIEND project has served as a model for the other regional FRIEND groups. It started in 1985 by the IHP Committees of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. The main outcome was a comprehensive hydrological database, the European Water Archive (EWA), which was presented at the first international FRIEND Conference in Bolkesjø, Norway (1989). The following phases have shown participation from many countries. First hydrologists from other Northwest European countries joined the four initiators followed by hydrologists from Central and Eastern Europe. In 2008, it was agreed to extend the countries of the former NE-FRIEND project towards the Balkan and Black Sea countries. The name of the FRIEND Regional Group changed from Northern Europe FRIEND project (NE-FRIEND) to European FRIEND (EURO-FRIEND).Main achievements were presented in Braunschweig, Germany (1993), Postojna, Slovenia (1997), Cape Town, South Africa (2002) and in Havana, Cuba (2006). The most recent results will be presented in Fez, Morocco (October 2010).
31 countries are now actively involved in EURO-FRIEND: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldavia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine the United Kingdom and Turkey. A Steering Committee, with one representative from the IHP Committee of each participating country, meets about every 4 years. The last meeting was in Havana, Cuba, on 26 November 2006. A meeting is planned in Fez, Morocco (October 2010).