10 Aug 2020, 14:03
Benjamin Wehrmann

Water shortages in German towns foreshadow climate change's impact on entire country - opinion

dpa / n-tv / Tageszeitung

An intense heat wave and lack of rain is causing severe water shortages in German municipalities that could foreshadow global warming's impact on the country as a whole, writes Ulrike Hermann in an opinion for newspaper Tageszeitung (taz). "We are losing our home as we know it,” she writes. “The rain that we have taken for granted until now is becoming scarce," she argues, adding that the double challenge of little rain and higher demand for water caused by increasing heat is showing just how "treacherous" the problem of climate change is. Hermann adds that "our everyday lives are going to change," predicting water-intensive activities such as swimming pools, washing cars or watering lawns will soon become difficult for many people. "Water instead is becoming a scarce commodity that is being rationed and allocated by the state,” she adds.
The town of Lauenau in Lower Saxony in northern Germany announced a collapse of its water supply on Saturday, and on Sunday the Simmern-Rheinböllen municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate ordered strict water use restrictions in order to avoid a complete depletion, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by n-tv online. Similar measures are being mulled in towns close to Berlin and in other parts of the country that are still reeling from the extreme droughts in 2018 and 2019, which have not been counterbalanced with precipitation so far this year.

Environmental researchers have warned that recurring droughts are taking an immense toll on the country's forests and might permanently change the German landscape in the future. The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) warned last month that Germany’s water management needed a "paradigm shift" to avoid supply bottlenecks.

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