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World Water Day

Tomorrow is World Water Day; Silberhorn says: Without water and energy – no food!

State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn and representatives of the German network for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

21.03.2014 |

Berlin – In reference to World Water Day, which is tomorrow, Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMZ, emphasised the right of all people to water.

At a meeting with the network for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Silberhorn said: "Everybody has a right to water. Water is the most im­por­tant good – it is necessary for growing food, for generating energy, for preserving healthy ecosystems and for industrial production. That is why water and sanitation together with water resource management are priority areas in many of the partner coun­tries with which Germany engages in de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion." With its projects in the water sector the BMZ is reaching some 100 million people in 50 coun­tries. Each year Germany provides about 350 million euros for this purpose.

Take Jordan for example: With German support, wastewater is being treated and used to irrigate field crops. This increases the yield of those crops and eases the pressure on natural water resources. Differences in altitude from the wastewater treatment plants to the fields mean that, with the help of a small hydropower plant, electricity can be generated for no less than 10,000 households. In addition, there are plans to use the sewage slurry in future to produce biogas, thus creating yet another source of energy. When he visited Jordan in February, Federal Minister Gerd Müller pledged further support amounting to 15 million euros for water supply and sanitation.

The motto "water and energy", chosen for this year's World Water Day on 22 March, makes reference to the close link between the two. Water is needed to cool power stations or to generate energy from hydropower. Energy is needed to pump water up to where it is needed or to treat it.

Experts estimate that, by 2030, demand for water and energy will have risen by between 40 and 50 per cent. There are already billions of people who do not have enough water. And still huge amounts of water and energy are being wasted, due for example to excessive irrigation in ag­ri­cul­ture or leaky water pipes or because food is left to spoil and rot. Through its de­vel­op­ment activities, Germany is helping people to make careful and more efficient use of available resources.

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