Fresh and clean water is essential for healthy people and ecosystems. Increasingly, however, the quality of our (waste) water is under strain: Due to hotter summers and low groundwater levels, the supply of fresh water is becoming a problem in some regions of Europe; in almost all regions, the quality of wastewater is increasingly deteriorating due to agriculture, medicines and nitrates. Infrastructure problems such as leaking pipes or burst pipes, as well as heavy rainfall and sewage overflows, are exacerbating these problems.
Low water levels, like here on the Rhine, are an increasing problem in hot summers.
Against a backdrop of increasing urbanization and a likely rise in water scarcity, municipalities should seize the opportunity now to make their water systems fit for the future. Various data-driven methods can be used to improve infrastructure and make water supply more efficient. Water and wastewater should be considered together as areas of public infrastructure. This integrative approach is also reflected in the EU's Water Framework Directive (WFD), which regulates the quantitative and qualitative water supply in the EU states.
In order to create globally sustainable structures, the member states of the United Nations have set themselves 17 goals by 2030, which are set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.