Germany and climate adaption: the case for water reuse

Water is essential for life. It’s a precious resource. But our water is at risk. Extreme weather, including droughts, are becoming more common. The effects are already visible in Europe, where countries like Germany have been unusually dry a few summers in a row.

Water that gives life

Kemira recently commissioned an international consumer survey to better understand people’s attitudes and concerns related to water. Are they worried? Do they try to conserve water at home or do they think it’s the government’s responsibility to do something? Here we focus on the results from Germany, where 74% of the respondents believe water is the country’s most valuable resource.

Statistics about most valued natural resources in germany.

The five most important domestic natural resources, in view of respondents.

From the Rhine to the Danube, Germany is a land known for its rivers. They are places of recreation that also give life to Germany’s verdant forests and agriculture, while reliably powering transportation and industry – at least until recent years.

A hot topic

In June 2020, in some areas the Rhine fell to its lowest level in 20 years. Germany has not historically been a place where water stress has been an issue.

Heatmap of germany.

Source: UFZ Drought Monitor / Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

More than half of Germans consider drought a threat to water resources in the country.

Survey results about the level of threat from droughts in germany.

How big of a threat do you feel droughts are to water resources in Germany? (in %)

Some people are taking matters in their own hands. Nearly 60% of Germans say they are trying to conserve water at home due to its impact on nature. However, our survey also revealed that a substantial number of people don’t believe individuals can make a difference.

Government must act

Many Germans are looking to the government for a solution. 65% say the federal or local government is responsible for ensuring sufficient clean water is provided to households.

Survey result about clean household water responsibility in germany.

Which of the following do you feel is primarily responsible for making sure that sufficient clean water is provided to households in Germany? (in%)

The good news is that Germany, like other EU countries, will implement a new policy called the EU Water Reuse Regulation, to encourage water reuse for agriculture irrigation – part of a sustainable water strategy for climate adaptation. The new regulation gives clear rules on the quality for reused water, in order to make it safe to use. It’s up to the current administration to fully embrace these new measures and put strong incentives in place.

Kemira supports water reuse in Germany and across the EU. Our chemistry plays an important role in safe water treatment, ensuring removal of pathogens and other contaminants.

To read more about Kemira’s international consumer survey on water in German, please click here.


Glass of water and paper straw.

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