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No Wasser in Wasserland: Germany launches its first-ever national water strategy

Wednesday saw Germany’s cabinet agree on a national water strategy contrived to ensure water security in the country in case of future stretched-out dry seasons and heatwaves possibly brought about by climate change.

Germany may be a water-rich country, but weeks of high temperatures and scant rainfall in recent years have drained the water levels of the Rhine river – the country’s commercial artery. Prolonged droughts scorched farmers’ crops in many parts of the country.

“We have to prepare for the changes of the climate crisis and adapt to the fact that the water supply will be different, the times will change and the quantities will change, that we have to protect ourselves from flood events, from heavy rain, but also from drought and heat,” German Environmental Minister Steffi Lemke said.

Berlin’s first-ever national water strategy seeks to establish and protect water reservoirs in forests, floodplains, towns, and villages.

“And for this, we want first and foremost to maintain an intact ecosystem, that means old forests, intact soils that can absorb water, that can store water, floodplains that are re-naturalized to be able to absorb more water, always to take precautions, both against too much water and for too little water,” she added.

Extending to 2050, the scheme envisages forests and green spaces restoration as well as developing guidelines to regulate water distribution in case of regional shortages, through categorizing water consumers in rankings.

Through a new registry system, local and federal governments should be able to track where and what quantity of water is available in the country, the 120-page strategy showed.

Although Germans have lower daily water consumption levels compared with other industrialized countries, the strategy examines introducing incentives for saving water.

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