Germany's env min proposes “national water strategy” to cope with drought
Rheinische Post / RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland / Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten
Persistent drought has led Germany’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze to propose a “national water strategy”, setting out new regulations and prioritising certain types of consumption. “We need new rules,” Schulze told the Rheinische Post in an interview. "The top priority is to provide people with water for drinking, cooking and washing." The new regulations could mean cuts to lower-priority activities, such as lawn sprinkling and outdoor pools, RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reports. Many experts support these measures, the report continues, pointing out that while municipalities have already taken some measures, they cannot solve the problems posed by ongoing drought and heat alone. Gerd Landsberg, head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, told RND that a “rethink” towards active water management is necessary in light of increasing water scarcity. Bettina Hoffmann, environmental policy spokeswoman for the Green Party, said that a clear legal framework for water management was “long overdue”.
The past two summers have been exceptionally dry in Germany, affecting farmers and forests. “The consequences of climate change are already being felt in Germany,” an environment ministry spokesman told the RND. For instance, Brandenburg municipalities are growing increasingly concerned about drought in the state, according to a report in the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten. “We have to focus more on these questions,” Vice President of the Brandenburg Association of Towns and Municipalities, Thomas Zenker, told the paper.