Cross-industry appeal for water protection

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Water as the elixir of life – World Water Day is bringing the protection of drinking water and groundwater back into focus. The Greens in the Bavarian State Parliament are calling on the government to speed up the implementation of measures. Several industries are launching their own initiatives.

 

According to The Greens in the Bavarian State Parliament, droughts in the summer and pollution caused by nitrate and pesticides are among the greatest threats to groundwater and drinking water. The party is taking World Water Day on 22nd March as an opportunity to address a list of demands to the state government. The idea behind it is the rapid implementation of measures for preventive protection of water. Various occupations – farmers, engineers, architects – are likewise using World Water Day to press ahead with projects and make an appeal to the people.

In the statement, the environmental representative for the Greens, Christian Hierneis, issues the following warning: Nitrate and pesticides have entered the groundwater and, on top of this, over recent years in Bavaria, groundwater recharge has reduced by one-fifth on average. "In Bavaria, we obtain three-quarters of our drinking water from groundwater."

Better protection of groundwater and drinking water

The Greens are calling on the State Parliament to adopt a resolution stating "that, due to the decline in groundwater recharge in recent years, increased measures must be taken and implemented to protect the groundwater and drinking water in Bavaria."

These include protection from eutrophication and contamination with pesticides and pharmaceutical residues, as well as assisting communities with expanding water retention infrastructure so that, for example, rainwater instead of drinking water can be used in future for flushing toilets and irrigation systems. Hierneis criticises the state government for its announcement in the State Parliament six months ago that it wanted to promote water protection, "but a mere six months later, it seems to have forgotten about it again."

State Minister for Environmental Affairs takes a defensive stance

"The issue of water supply is our top priority," countered Bavaria's State Minister for Environmental Affairs, Thorsten Glauber, in a press release on Sunday. On Sunday, Bavaria's Minister of Agriculture, Michaela Kaniber, once again declared her objective of creating a sustainable irrigating system. According to a press release issued by the ministry, the intention is to use more surface water for this instead of groundwater reserves. In winter, water is to be drawn from rivers and stored in reservoirs for irrigation at a later point. 

"Instead of making big announcements that sound good, the state government must finally make good on the water policies it has been promising Franconia for years," insisted Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) deputy Volkmar Halbleib from Lower Franconia in a statement on Sunday. The deputy states that the government must present a comprehensive concept for the irrigation of vineyards, forests and farms in Franconia.

Broad alliance for water protection

Various different industries have also taken up the cause of water protection. For example, the Bavarian Chamber of Architects, the Bavarian Chamber of Construction Engineers, the Bavarian Association of Towns, Cities and Municipalities and the Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste in Bavaria have joined forces to form an alliance. In their statement, they request that the government, industry, construction sector and general population use water resources sensibly. This includes planning flood protection and water storage for residential developments and making surfaces permeable to water instead of sealing them.

In the Upper Palatinate, 11 water suppliers from the Regensburg, Burglengenfeld and Neumarkt region together with farmers have voluntarily committed themselves to managing and farming the land in a way that protects the groundwater in future and therefore to playing a part in safeguarding the quality of drinking water.

Preventing drinking water contamination

"As a water supplier, we have a duty to protect water from negative influences and to take concrete measures together with farmers, soil experts and hydrogeologists," states Franz Herrler, chairman of the "Upper Palatine Jura Drinking Water Protection"group. The objective is to reduce drinking water contamination caused by pollutants such as nitrate and pesticides as far as possible in future or to prevent it completely. (dpa/amo).

https://www.zfk.de/wasser-abwasser/wasser/branchenuebergreifender-appell-zum-wasserschutz, retrieved on 21.03.2021

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