GRoW researcher on TV – Gert Scobel discusses together with experts challenges and perspectives around the resource water


Framed under the topic “the water crisis” moderator Gert Scobel and his guests address in the 3sat program “scobel” the current use of water and discuss perspectives for better water reuse. In addition to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Drewes (Institute for Urban Water Management at the TU Munich) and Prof. Dr. Dieter Gerten (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Geography Institute at HU Berlin), GRoW project coordinator Prof. Dr. Claudia Pahl-Wostl (Institute for Environmental Systems Research at the University of Osnabrück) also contributes with her expert knowledge.

The TV show takes place parallel to the COP25 climate conference, at which the topic of water is dealt with by a working group brought in by Germany. In this context, Claudia Pahl-Wostl points out at the beginning of the TV show that the effects of increasingly scarce global water resources are not a future scenario, but a reality already. The recently published UN World Water Report proves her right: 2.1 billion people have no direct access to clean drinking water, 4.3 billion people lack secure access to sanitation and more than 80% of all waste water is discharged into the environment without treatment.

In the TV discussion about challenges in the water sector, Claudia Pahl-Wostl emphasizes that adapted solutions are needed: ​​ even if a country possesses a promising water-related legislation that guarantees all people an adequate access to water, it often lacks practical implementation of these laws. On the one hand, this is due to unmatched technical solutions and, on the other hand, inadequate administrative structures. Accordingly, solution concepts are needed that involve the population and that go hand in hand with increasing the capacity of existing administration structures – elements that are also addressed by the GRoW project STEER, coordinated by Claudia Pahl-Wostl.

In addition, Claudia Pahl-Wostl highlights the relevance of the concepts “virtual water” and “water footprint”, because they clearly show that water resources cannot only be viewed locally, but also need to be addressed from a global perspective. This goes hand in hand with developing strategies of action at different levels, for example also among consumers. Employing the above-mentioned concepts, consumers’ awareness on how much water their own consumption pattern entails can be raised. With regard to the “water footprint”, various GRoW research projects are currently developing a number of new approaches that are being tested as a basis for decision-making.

The TV show also discusses technological solutions at various levels that offer opportunities for more sustainable water use and treatment, as well as paradigm shifts in the water sector that are already taking place or are still pending. “What remains is the task for all of us to finally understand water as a global common good and to take responsibility for it”, moderator Gert Scobel concludes the program.

The full TV show (in German only) is available here.

More information about the GRoW project STEER is available here. More information on GRoW projects researching the concepts of “water footprint” and “virtual water” are available here.