B.Un Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) warns of water shortages in Germany. “For the future it is not a matter of course that there will be an abundance of water everywhere,” said Schulze of the Neue Berliner Redaktionsgesellschaft. A stronger balance between arid and water-rich regions is necessary. “With water, there is no problem of quantity, but of distribution,” said the minister.
In the event of a shortage, there could be prioritization of water access in the future: “For these emergencies, one will have to talk about usage hierarchies and a balance of interests.” The personal drinking water requirement enjoys priority. “Priority for essential economic and agricultural uses and ecological needs is also conceivable,” added the minister.
Schulze advocates massive expansion of the water infrastructure
Schulze wants to create incentives so that large amounts of water are used outside of peak consumption. “Pools are best filled at night, not during the day,” she said. “Smart water tariffs” could be a solution to react more flexibly to the respective demand.
In the “National Water Strategy” of your ministry, which is to be presented on Tuesday, Schulze advocates a massive expansion of the water infrastructure. According to the plan, municipalities and water suppliers should cooperate more closely on a supraregional level and join forces in regional associations. “If individual regions get into difficulties, new or larger long-distance water pipes can be a solution,” said Schulze. New water reservoirs such as dams are also conceivable, provided they are “ecologically compatible”.
Schulze puts the costs, referring to information from the water management, at more than three billion euros per year. In the future, the federal states and the federal government are also responsible. “A large part of this will continue to be borne by water suppliers and municipalities in the future.”
At the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU), the plans are met with skepticism due to the high costs. “Maintaining and replacing the current lines is a mammoth task,” said VKU Vice President Karsten Specht of the NBR. The VKU also insists that water supply is a municipal task. “Which solutions are required on site can only be assessed on site,” said Specht.