Web-App: Wasser


We do not give too much thought to water in Germany. We simply turn on the tap and out flows water for cooking, washing or flushing the toilet. However, we need not look very far to realise that water is becoming increasingly scarce.

Water scarcity

Spain and Portugal suffered from major droughts in 2017. In Portugal, the government even considered the idea of shutting off the water supply at night.

The situation in Cape Town is even more disastrous: In South Africa’s second largest city, "Day Zero" is expected to occur in the middle of this year. On this day, the water reserves in the metropolis with a population of four million will be so low that only hospitals and other vital services will receive water. The rest of the population will have to queue up for its daily ration of 25 litres. If and when Day Zero will occur this year is difficult to predict. The day has been repeatedly deferred, as water-saving initiatives have been successful and sporadic rainfall has eased the situation. However, the danger is nowhere near being averted.

The reasons for the water scarcity in South Africa are manifold: the worst drought in 100 years and a rapidly growing population are two important factors. Several countries in the Global South have to contend with similar challenges. German development cooperation is currently advising 19 partner countries where water and sanitation are priority areas of cooperation.

Valuing water – not just on World Water Day

In 1992, a World Water Day was declared by the United Nations and it is now celebrated annually on 22 March. Governments, associations and citizens can use the day to draw attention to the topic of water. This year’s theme "Nature for Water" shows that other natural resources are closely linked to water. Forests and wetlands, in particular, serve as important water reservoirs. These, too, must be protected to ensure that we always have sufficient water available. Only if we value the natural world as a whole will the water cycle be maintained on earth.

"Sharing Water" – The theme of the 8th World Water Forum in Brazil

Parallel to World Water Day, the 8th World Water Forum is held this year in Brazil. The theme is "Sharing Water". At this international conference, which is a regular event, up to 30,000 participants from the private sector, civil society and government institutions will discuss water supply and management. The German Federal Government will also contribute to a range of issues at the Forum. In Brazil, the German delegation will state its positions on the following four issues:

At the World Water Forum, the German Federal Government will present a documentary film, which has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), on the phenomenon of the "flying rivers" in Brazil. A flying river is a humid air mass that rises over the Amazon rainforest and then sheds rain in the south of the country. This natural phenomenon is at risk because more and more rainforest is being illegally cleared, causing the moist air to disappear and the flying rivers to dry up. The consequences are periods of drought, which have been affecting people in Brazil increasingly since 2013. The film "The Amazonia’s Flying Rivers – No Forest No Water" addresses this problem in depth. Its premiere will be celebrated at the World Water Forum.


In the water sector, we are depending increasingly on digital solutions. One format that is gaining traction in international cooperation is the "hackathon”. At these events, software developers and other digital experts work to a deadline on creative solutions for different problems.

Shortly before the World Water Forum, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), on behalf of BMZ, organised #hack4water where specific Brazilian water-related problems were addressed. For instance, a serious problem in Brazil is the loss of water through leaking pipes. To identify and address these damages earlier is one of the challenges that the hackathon participants had to confront. The solutions will be presented at the World Water Forum.

Link to the hackathon in Brazil: hack4waterbrasil.org.

The new BMZ water strategy

In July 2017, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) published its new water strategy. It contributes to the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 as well as the Paris agreement on climate change. The BMZ water strategy brings a new dynamic in the water sector, as it comes with the commitment by the German Development Cooperation to increase support for water security activities by one third.

This is an important step towards realizing the human right to clean water and sustainable sanitation for all by 2030. Continue reading

Background: Water is life

At a glance, the planet’s water reserves look inexhaustible. After all, oceans and seas cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. However, only 2.5 percent of those are fresh water, most of which is contained in ice and glaciers. Therefore, humans can only use around one percent of water resources worldwide. Continue reading

Water in our daily life

We use water to drink, wash, cook, wash clothes and clean our homes. The availability of water as well as its quality are of great importance to the daily life of every human being around the globe. No water no life. Continue reading