Leipzig (dpa/sn) - According to the Ministry of the Environment, investments of around 1.4 billion euros will be necessary in the next ten years for a reliable water supply in Saxony. "The climate crisis is bringing the existing system in Saxony to its limits. This was impressive in the three dry years from 2018 to 2020 and can now be seen again in the region," emphasized Saxony's Environment Minister Wolfram Günther (Greens) on Monday in Leipzig at the presentation the "Principal conception of public water supply 2030 for the Free State of Saxony".
The 213-page concept is a guideline for future water management decisions. Among other things, it describes the quantitative and qualitative current status of the water resources and the risk, for example, of substance inputs. In it, the municipal authorities are asked to update their water supply concepts according to agreed principles and to adapt them to the changing framework conditions.
According to the Ministry, the forecasts assume that in the course of this century the average evaporation will exceed the amount of precipitation in large parts of Saxony. According to this, in the middle of this century, years without relevant groundwater recharge are regularly possible in the lowlands, while the water supply in the low mountain ranges could decrease significantly, for example due to meltwater. According to the basic concept, the decline in the water supply and increasing water demand in summer will increasingly lead to competition for use.
"Our water supply must be hardened, the system must be more crisis-proof," said Günther. Projections showed that frequent changes between low water and heavy rain are to be expected, which can disrupt operational processes and lead to changes in the water quality. Heat waves and higher temperatures can also impair the drinking water quality in the pipe networks.
In addition, the affordability of the water supply must remain guaranteed in regions with a declining population. In regions with a growing population, the systems would have to be expanded.
The Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) advocates strengthening the dam network system. "Catchment areas of dams must be specially protected in the future. Furthermore, the construction of new crossovers must be examined and the increase in inflow into the dams must be managed," said Olaf Terno, chairman of the "Water" working group of the VKU. In addition, the Saxon state government must have an idea of how to deal with competing uses for the water. "If the water supply is not sufficient for all desired uses and therefore a consideration is necessary, the public drinking water supply must have priority."
In Leipzig alone, the city with the largest population in Saxony, the demand for water has risen from 86 liters per capita to 100 liters per day in the past ten years, according to the municipal waterworks. The nationwide average is around 120 liters.