Innovative Solutions for Global Water Issues - GRoWnet networking and transfer project
Sustainable Development Goal number six reads, “Clean Water and Sanitation”. Achieving this means guaranteeing that everyone in the world has access to drinking water and sanitary facilities, while simultaneously protecting this vital resource. Climate change, population growth and associated conflicts related to the use and over-exploitation of water represent obstacles to this goal. Research can make a critical contribution to tackling the global water crisis.
GRoW: Water as a Global Resource
adelphi leads the networking and transfer project GRoWnet. Its aim is to strengthen the positive impact of the initiative “Water as a Global Resource” (GRoW), a research programme funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). GRoW brings together more than 90 institutions from research, industry and practice. The goal is to develop innovative solutions for local-to-global water problems.
Learn more about the initiative from some researchers themselves:
Linking the local and the global by connecting research, policy and practice
The guiding principle of this programme is to connect global analyses with local solutions: the 12 GRoW joint projects improved global information and forecasts for water resources and demand, while exploiting new knowledge to develop solutions for local water problems with stakeholders. The transfer project “GroWnet”, led by adelphi, identifies and takes advantage of synergies between these 12 joint projects and helps them transfer their research results and solutions into policy and practice.
"Global Resource Water" (GRoW) is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Tools developed by researchers in the GRoW WELLE project enable companies to better determine their water footprint. The project found that, in many companies, over 95 percent of the total water consumption in the manufacture of products comes from the supply of energy and materials. If the value of water as a production factor is made visible at all points in the supply chain, companies can take measures to reduce water scarcity at local hot spots in their value chains.
The world’s largest consumer of globally available water resources is agriculture. “We are developing tools to monitor and determine the efficiency of agricultural water use worldwide. This way, we can identify global hotspots in water management in agriculture that have an impact on food production, ecosystems and energy generation,” says Wolfram Mauser, coordinator of the GRoW project VIWA, Chair of Geography and Geographical Remote Sensing, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Water is also an important factor in the energy transition: considerable amounts of water are required to extract raw minerals – often in regions that are already suffering from water stress. Case studies and global modelling in the GRoW project WANDEL show that strategies for the energy transition not only have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also have to take water requirements into account. This way, clean energy does not come at the expense of scarce water resources in arid regions of the world.
The researchers call on global leaders in business and policy to tackle the international water crisis in three key areas: leveraging digitalisation, addressing teleconnections, improving governance. The potential of digitisation should be exploited to improve water management and the long-range effects of water use, such as the water footprint of global supply chains, must be considered. Water must play an integral role in all decisions related to natural resources. Decisions should be made within good governance structures, be based on scientific evidence, and be made transparent.