The demand for water is growing across the world. However, our ecosystem is being put under increasing strain by the pollution and exploitation of water resources. Climate change and unfavourable conditions at a regional level exacerbate the situation even further. Efficient water management is the only way in which we can meet these challenges.
Integrated water resource management (IWRM) is a flexible, holistic approach that pursues the objective of maximizing the overall social benefits of the use of water resources while putting a special emphasis on sustainability. This approach is compulsory in the German water sector. Various science programmes are working on the development of IWRM concepts for model regions in developing and emerging countries.
Water-saving irrigation systems in agriculture (e.g. micro-irrigation systems) will reduce excessive water consumption and increase water productivity. In order to achieve sustainable development and a forward-looking supply of water, it is essential to protect groundwater in a provident, area-wide and usage-adapted way. German scientist and engineers have developed a multitude of “in-situ” technologies for the sanitation of the groundwater that also contribute to the protection of future groundwater supplies. Thanks to its numerous innovative products and important patents, Germany holds a leading position in the exploration of groundwater reservoirs.
Germany has attained great success in the area of water resources protection by means of targeted protection and sanitation measures as well as advanced legislation.
Prolonged interruptions of the water supply are virtually unknown in Germany, thanks to the high technical standards of water treatment and distribution systems and the continuous maintenance of the distribution networks. As a result, German water suppliers have the lowest water losses in distribution systems worldwide. 99 percent of the population is connected to the public drinking water supply.
Roughly two thirds of Germany’s drinking water come from groundwater sources. Although in general, water availability is sufficient to meet the needs, there are areas of water shortage. Dams and reliable long-distance pipes ensure that all citizens have permanent access to excellent drinking water without chemical contamination. The legal requirements set out in the Drinking Water Act and the EC Directive are met nationwide. Scientific institutions and water supply companies have jointly developed innovative water treatment technologies (e.g. ultrafiltration).
German experts have been working on water management strategies for other climatic regions, which have already been applied successfully under a wide variety of economic, social and cultural conditions.
The German water industry guarantees the long-term stability of water supply and sanitation services, a high quality of drinking water, and high sewerage standards. All this is provided in an economically efficient and sustainable manner – thus achieving outstanding customer satisfaction.
In Germany, everyone can obtain drinking water straight from the tap: clean, in sufficient quantities, at a reasonable price, and 24 hours a day.
In many other countries, millions of people die of diseases caused by impure drinking water.
The German water management sector would like to support these regions, offering them its experience and knowledge and using its expertise to solve their problems. Efficient drinking water and waste water treatment processes can be tailored to the requirements of other countries. The strength of German companies lies in their technically sound and innovative solutions in various areas, including the treatment of drinking water (e.g. filtration technology and desalination), sewage and sludge management, recycling management and energy recovery.
The public drinking water supply in Germany meets the strictest drinking water quality standards. All legal provisions related to this standard of quality are complied with at a national level. Used water is never wasted. Throughout the country, sewage effluents are treated according to the requirements of the relevant EU Directives and returned to the natural water cycle. In addition, new strategies have been developed to close material and nutrient cycles (particularly phosphorus recovery). The introduction of ecological, water cycle-oriented systems for sewerage management and sanitation has marked a paradigm shift in urban water management.
Over the decades, German players in the field of water management − companies, politics, administrations, professional associations and science − have accumulated extensive knowledge and skills.
Together with its partner ministries German Water Partnership formulated a cross-divisional strategy for capacity development in the water sector. Its aim is to achieve coordinated action in planning and execution of measures and thus produce significant added value for all involved.
Under the headline „Qualified in Germany“ Germany strives to establish itself as a leading supplier of capacity development in the water sector, to support political reforms in the water sector and enhance export opportunities for companies.
→ Brochure “Lebenswerte Städte – Starke Betreiber”
→ Brochure “Skill Development in the Water Sector”
→ Brochure “Entwicklung braucht Wasser – Deutsche Capacity-Development-Strategie im Wassersektor”
→ DEVIWAS – Deutsch-Vietnamesische Verbandspartnerschaft zur Kompetenzentwicklung im vietnamesischen Wassersektor