The last few years made it more and more obvious that groundwater resources are not as abundant as we thought. Multiple stakeholders and sectors make claims to utilize groundwater resources for a range of purposes, which more often results in conflicts among water utilities, nature conservation, industrial users and agriculture. In the Saarland, Germany’s westernmost federal state, groundwater became an object of conflict, recently.
Robert was invited to give a talk on groundwater resources for BUND Saarland on April 13th 2021. The topic was, how climate change and societal demands potentially lead to conflict situations over groundwater resources among stakeholders. He elaborated on the global situation of groundwater resources and zoomed in to the European and German situation against the background of the past years’ droughts. Looking ahead, Robert explored the potential of ‘integrated water resources management’ (IWRM) schemes to protect and sustainably use groundwater resources. He talked about stakeholder participation as a fruitful way to implement local measures and sketched out the potential of water reuse technologies to reduce raw water requirements. Last but not least, ‘sponge city’ was highlighted as an interesting approach to make our cities more resilient to climate change and simultaneously protect groundwater resources.
The talk and the discussion afterwards can be found on the BUND website.