Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said she wants to maintain the scope for returning water and wastewater management to the municipalities. At the opening of the Wasser Berlin International trade fair, Hendricks stated that the Federal Government will ensure that in future too, the tasks of general interest service provision can be carried out by local authorities. This includes drinking water supply and effluent disposal. "Neither TTIP, CETA nor any other trade agreement such as the TISA can change anything about this." stressed Minister Hendricks. The trade fair, which this year is hosting around 560 exhibitors, is taking place in Berlin until 27 March.
Hendricks underlined that even though Germany can count itself lucky not to suffer from water shortages, this does not release the country from its national and international responsibilities. She added that the supply of water is not a given in all parts of the world - despite all the progress made through the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals. "Almost 800 million people still do not have adequate access to clean drinking water and about two and a half billion people have no access to sanitation." She added that this is why, at UN negotiations, Germany advocates adding a sustainable development goal for water to the post-2015 agenda.
Minister Hendricks also described the challenges of sustainable water management that Germany is facing. The challenges she mentioned included adapting infrastructure to demographic change and climate change, precautionary flood control measures, increasing energy and resource efficiency and dealing with micropollutants. In the future, water and wastewater technologies will be an important component of the environmental technology market as they have huge potential at international level. Studies predict a global market volume growth of almost 990 billion euros. At present, Germany's global market share in environmental and efficiency technologies is about 14 percent.
On receiving the Profile of the German Water Industry at the opening of the trade fair, Minister Hendricks encouraged stakeholders from the industry to continue along the path they have embarked upon and thus ensure, despite the changing conditions, that the level of quality and efficiency is maintained and further developed, particularly with a view to environmental protection and human health.
The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety is actively involved in the Wasser Berlin programme. In addition, on 25 March 2015, Gunther Adler, State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, will be speaking at the Blue Plant Forum "Green Cities - Blue Solutions", which was organised together with the Ministry. Also on 25 March, State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth will be holding a presentation at the Flood Management Symposium on the political lessons to be learned from the floods of 2013.