Water is the basis for all life and an indispensable resource for humans and the environment. However, our water resources are increasingly coming under pressure. The recent summer droughts had devastating impacts on Germany’s forests, agriculture and biodiversity. In March this year, France and Italy reported being affected by winter drought, which may well be a sign of things to come over the course of the year. The flood disaster that struck the Ahr Valley and parts of North Rhine-Westphalia almost two years ago is another example of how destructive extreme weather events can be.
In view of the climate crisis, such weather extremes might become the new normal. At the same time, the German water sector is faced with enormous challenges.
In spite of the progress made, there is still a lot of work to do to modernise and adapt the sector’s infrastructure and to protect Germany’s water bodies. That is why it is time to take systematic action to ensure a sound management of water resources. The Federal Environment Ministry’s National Water Strategy is a major contribution to this effort.