Germany to adopt national drinking water strategy, adapt cities to climate change
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet is set to adopt a new national water strategy by the end of the year, RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reports. The cabinet is currently voting on a draft plan drawn up by the federal environment ministry. The government aims to adopt a plan on how sufficient drinking water can continue to be available during increasing heat waves. Speaking at a conference in Dessau, environment minister Steffi Lemke said cities also had to change. Describing the goals of the planned water strategy, Lemke said that even “in 30 years, there should be high-quality and affordable drinking water in Germany anytime and anywhere. Groundwater, lakes, streams and rivers are to become cleaner. Infrastructure, land use and urban development are being adapted to the consequences of the climate crisis.”
Water management, she added, must become an important element of urban development in order to adapt cities to climate change. The so-called “sponge city” urban construction model used for flood management and to strengthen ecological infrastructure and drainage systems is the main focus of the Dessau conference. "The concept of the sponge city puts all of this together: traffic areas, facade and roof areas, technical and social infrastructure and private gardens and public parks,” Lemke noted. “Networked green spaces and bodies of water provide relief during urban heat waves and buffer heavy rain events.”
Germany has been working for several years on a national water strategy aimed at coping with recurring droughts and heatwaves associated with global warming.