Reuters / Eric Gaillard

Sustainability Monitor

Ready for the „water turnaround“?

The German Government’s National Water Strategy

This year's United Nations World Water Day on March 22nd took place under the slogan "Accelerating Change" and called for an acceleration and intensification of efforts towards sustainable water use at all levels - nationally and internationally. On 15 March 2023, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Federal Government's National Water Strategy: In view of the consequences of climate change, the Federal Government intends to initiate a "water turnaround" by focusing on ten strategic themes to accelerate the transformation in the water sector.

The consequences of global climate change do not stop at Germany's territorial borders - answers must also be found as to how the water supply for both people and the environment can be secured in the long term in a sufficient quantity and in the necessary quality.

When this year's United Nations World Water Day on March 22nd took place under the motto "Accelerating Change", it called not only for accelerating and intensifying efforts to achieve sustainable water use at the international level, but also at the national level.

In the run-up to the conference, the Federal Government adopted a national water strategy with ten strategic themes, challenges, visions for 2050 as well as targets and measures. Specifically, it is about securing Germany's natural water reserves and taking precautions against water scarcity. Distribution conflicts are to be prevented, and the reconstruction backlog in the water infrastructure is to be addressed. Improving the condition of water bodies and water quality are also intended.

The comprehensive, interministerial approach is commendable. The water strategy can certainly focus the attention of the various actors in the water sector, as well as the population, to the importance of water as a resource, and raise awareness of its value and vulnerability. However, it only marks the beginning of this transformation with a target date of 2050. Essential questions remain vague and require prompt, solution-oriented clarification, involving all relevant actors, especially at the level of the states and municipalities: For example, which are the priorities for implementation? How are responsibilities regulated? How about the financing? What is the exact timetable for implementation and how is it monitored?

Read the entire monitor "Ready for the "water turnaround"? The German Government's National Water Strategy" from our Sustainability series here as a PDF.

About this series

The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.

Ordering Information

The contributions appear exclusively online and can therefore not be ordered.


The current main topics are “Development policy”, “Sustainability” and “Election and social research”. The contributions of these sub-series are presented for you on separate overview pages in addition to the overall series.