Since 2000, the world population has grown by more than one billion people to currently 7.3 billion people. Global water demand has increased by about 20% in the same period. The situation is aggravated by the forecast further increase of 55% of the global water demand by the year 2050, accompanied by more frequent conflicts of use. For example, it is expected that the water consumption of the manufacturing sector will increase by 400% in the same period.
The appearance of the Earth is already markedly changing due to the overuse of the global water resources. The consequences are not limited to individuals, ecosystems and economic development. An insufficient basic supply of water is also a factor that can weaken the stability of political systems. It is expected that by 2050, 40% of the world's population will be living in areas with severe water stress.
In view of these challenges, the international community is now making joint efforts for the improved handling of water resources. The participating United Nations member states are striving for social, economic and ecological sustainability at national and international level by the year 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Water is a central part of this. The objective is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. It is a matter of reducing water contamination and significantly increasing the efficiency of water usage.
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals creates an important basis for joint action at international level. The research community is now asked to actively support this process through the development of innovative solutions with long term success ensured by corresponding education and training.
The objective of the BMBF funding measure is to enable research and development including capacity building for an improved and forward-looking management of global water resources. Thus, an important contribution is made towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations in the water sector.
The funding measure is characterised by the transfer between local and global actions. Local solutions for sustainable water management should be developed based on an improved understanding of the global state of water resources and global water demand. The transfer may have both a geographic dimension (e.g. solution approaches for cross-border water conflicts) as well as a conceptional dimension (e.g. effectiveness of steering mechanisms or capacity development). It is decisive for the rapid, global spread of successful local solutions.
The main focus is on increasing good governance in the water sector. Taking societal boundary conditions into account, approaches must be developed, which ensure that efficient technologies and uses can be anchored long-term in the daily use. Capacity building measures for the relevant players should also contribute to this. This should foster the transfer of successful implementations to other regions.
Decision-makers in business and administration need current information and water resources assessments as well as comprehensible forecasts for the regional and global water demand. In this way, risks can be identified earlier and progress for the achievement of the sustainable development goals can be documented transparently. In doing so, modern information and communications technologies should be used effectively.
Relevant players from business, administration and society should therefore be involved from the beginning. The research projects should be aligned to the specific needs of local decision-makers in public administration or business in order to ensure practical relevance and implementation of the research results.
The establishment of a sustainable water supply also provides economic opportunities. Significant worldwide investments in the water infrastructure will be necessary in the course of the sustainable development goals. In addition to the public water supply and drainage networks, this also includes, for example, the upgrading of industrial waste water treatment. The funding measure supports the distribution of water technologies and qualified consulting services provided by German companies.
Commercial enterprises domiciled in Germany, state and private universities, non-university research institutions and local, regional and national bodies are eligible. The participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is expressly welcomed. Only German partners are eligible for funding from BMBF under this call.
Applications must be submitted in German language by 15/03/2016.
The official and complete text of the call is available in German at: