BBK warns of drinking water shortages – inter 3 is researching solutions

The FLEXITILITY project is researching ways to relieve pressures on drinking water infrastructures

© inter 3 GmbH

It’s finally official: According to BBK president Schuster, German municipalities will have to increasingly prepare for drinking water shortages in the future. Climate change is leading to even dryer springs and summers in Germany, with significant negative consequences for the regional water balance. At the same time, peak water demands are increasing significantly, especially on hot days.

Declining water availability and increasing demands pose new challenges not only for political decision-makers, but also for regional water suppliers.

Using water sustainably − solutions from research

BBK President Schuster is encouraging the public to use water wisely and sustainably, as well as to bolster their ability to protect themselves in extreme weather situations. Results from the BMBF's Flexitility research project highlight solutions that will be tested in the coming years.

In the Flexitility project, stakeholders from science, civil society and industry are researching flexible solutions to relieve the strain on drinking water supply infrastructures. The ideas developed range from ways to substitute treated wastewater for agricultural water to using potable water storage tanks to balance peak consumption.

An important aspect in the research is the active participation of citizens. Their willingness to act flexibly as consumers was determined in a nationwide survey of private households. Based on field tests, it was investigated which measures can realistically influence the use behavior of customers. In selecting the proposed measures, we drew on decades worth of international project experience in arid and semi-arid regions. The measures that have already been successfully implemented in these regions can be adapted to the technical and legal framework in Germany.

Finally, inter 3 is using the research results to create various digital formats for education and training. The "Digital Learning House" provides a suitable infrastructure for this purpose.