“The abundance of water is no longer a matter of course”

Cities flood, water is scarce in summer. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has now presented a water strategy. This also means that there could be discounts at night.

Under water: The Danube floods in 2013 led to floods in Passau

BUn Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) sees a considerable need for investment in order to have clean water for everyone in Germany in 30 years. On Tuesday, she presented a water strategy in Berlin that is the result of consultations with 200 interlocutors from water management, agriculture and research, associations, federal states and municipalities over the past two years. Climate change is “increasingly questioning old certainties,” she said. “Three years of drought in a row have shown that Germany’s abundance of water can no longer be taken for granted.”

In addition, the water infrastructure must improve. Groundwater, lakes, streams and rivers should be cleaner. Land use and urban development should better adapt to the consequences of climate change. Municipalities that acted in accordance with the strategy took care to seal less areas. This would enable them to avoid flooding after heavy rainfall. In addition, companies should share costs through increased product stewardship.

The discussions had shown how complex and interconnected the issue of water scarcity is. The goal is an equally high quality. “It won’t be free. The federal government will do its part, ”she promised. Your ministry believes an immediate program with at least 100 million euros per year for the next ten years is necessary. So that the costs are not too high, it must be possible to avoid pollutants at the source instead of filtering them at the end of the recycling chain. “We want to turn the draft into a broad water strategy,” she said. It should become the basis of a federal government’s water strategy.

The draft lists a total of 57 measures. This includes a “water use hierarchy” in the event of water scarcity. Schulze also relies on “smart water tariffs”. Lower prices in phases of low demand should ensure that households have an incentive to use water when it is less scarce. For example, it could be cheaper to run the washing machine with high water consumption at night when few other households use water. The wastewater levy should also be designed in such a way that it reduces consumption.