Action 13: Mitigating water crisis events worldwide

We want to mitigate the incidence of water crises worldwide and secure water supplies. We will develop innovative technologies for this purpose.

Where do we stand?

Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that droughts and heavy rainfall events are likely to become more frequent in many regions of the world in the coming decades than they are today. Groundwater reservoirs will diminish or even dry up if overuse persists. The number of regional water crises will increase and with it the number of water-related conflicts. But there are technologies and concepts for increasing water availability. The demand for water technologies that are ‘Made in Germany’ to avoid water conflict has been growing for years and can help sustainable regional development worldwide.

What are the research needs?

Further research is needed to provide water in sufficient quantity and quality for all. This can include the development of new technologies on the one hand, and the development of innovative forms of organisation and utilisation concepts on the other, for example to manage available fresh water sources as sustainably as possible or to develop alternative water resources. These can be, for example, treated saline water or marine freshwater deposits. In regions with water scarcity, it also makes sense to use water more efficiently. In particular, there is a need for concepts to reduce water losses in agriculture, to close water cycles in industry, and to treat and reuse wastewater specifically according to its type of use. But high-tech is not a must. Even simple and robust technologies can be the best possible option, both regionally and in terms of being tailor-made.

Implementation steps and milestones

  • Reducing water crises globally is a priority topic in the inter-ministerial research programme on water, Wasser:N, which will be published in 2020. For the coming years, this government programme will form the Federal Government’s framework approach for the promotion of water research and water innovations.
  • In 2020, we will launch the Federal ‘Water Safety in Africa’ (WASA) programme. The WASA programme will work on solutions which meet both the needs of the African partners and the strategies and objectives of the Federal Government for international cooperation.
  • Most of the countries in the world with extreme water stress are in the Near and Middle East. From 2020, we will expand our research funding with a new funding priority in this region.
  • In 2020, we will publish the results of our research focus on water as a global resource, which will contribute to increasing management competence in the water sector and to SDG 6, ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’.
  • In 2021 we will launch the implementation of the funding priority on water technologies and reuse.

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