<p>Europeans spend more than £700 billion a year on recreational visits to water bodies – but perceived poor water quality costs almost £90bn in lost visits, a new study has found. The new research – led by a European collaboration involving the University of Stirling and the University of Exeter – used data from 11,000 visits across 14 different countries to analyse the economic value of water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches and seaside promenades.

Given that papal travel is starting again next week, might the Pope make a visit to Glasgow? Church sources have told The Tablet the idea is under consideration. It is noteworthy that on January 15, 2021, the UK’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, was received in a private audience by Francis. It is assumed that COP26 made up part of the conversation, although it is unknown if a visit was discussed.

<p>Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov believes that Ukraine must not supply water to the temporarily occupied Crimea until the country restores its sovereignty over the peninsula. Until 2014, Ukraine provided 85% of Crimea's fresh water needs through the North Crimean Canal which connects the Dnieper with the peninsula. After Russia had occupied Crimea, water supplies to Crimea were cut off. Currently, water reserves on the peninsula are replenished from reservoirs and underground sources.

<p>Plataforma Água Sustentável (PAS) – a group of eight environmental associations and NGOs in the Algarve – has publicly opposed “the construction of desalination plants and the diversion of water from the Guadiana River” as solutions to the Algarve’s chronic water shortages. Both projects are included in Portugal’s Plan for Recovery and Resilience, which is currently up for public consultation and features €200 million to improve the Algarve’s water efficiency.

<p>When the River Seine that runs through Paris overflowed this month, officials at the Louvre Museum were relieved some of their most valuable items were safely stored in northern France. The world’s largest and most visited museum, with almost 10 million visitors annually, had already transported some 100,000 at risk art pieces to the new Louvre Conservation Center in Lievin, some 190 km north. The reason? Climate change.

<p>In the midst of February's presidential elections in Ecuador, residents of the country’s third-largest city, Cuenca, voted to ban future mining projects in five water systems.<!--break--></p><p>In a 7 February plebiscite, voters turned out to protect the region’s clean water resources.

<p>The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has urged the Council of Ministers of its parent organisation the East African Community (EAC) to push forward on transboundary harmonisation in respect of the Lake Victoria Basin.

<p>The European Commission has decided today to refer Slovenia to the European Court of Justice for failure to comply with the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Directive 91/271/EEC). The Directive requires Member States to ensure that urban agglomerations (towns, cities, settlements) properly collect and treat their waste waters, thus eliminating or reducing all their undesirable effects.

<p>Catholic bishops in South Korea and Japan have issued a joint statement opposing the Japanese government’s decision to dump radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake seriously damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on March 11, 2011. Years of debate have followed regarding the disposal of liquid from the crippled plant, which includes water used to cool the facility.</p>

<p>The Swiss consumer conglomerate Nestlé has agreed to sell most of its North American bottled-water brands to two private-equity firms for $4.3bn, hoping to jump-start growth by focusing on a slimmed-down group of upscale, more on-trend brands. The world’s largest bottled-water maker said the sale of brands including Poland Spring, Arrowhead and Pure Life to private-equity firms One Rock Capital Partners LLC and Metropoulos &amp; Co. would allow it to focus on premium brands Perrier, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.</p>