Pressure on the water infrastructure making adaptation necessary
The “water system“ is coming under increasing pressure to adapt as a result of significant transformation processes and environmental changes. This leads to major technical and socio-economic challenges, both in the case of long-standing, piped water infrastructures and in dealing with extreme weather events as well as the increasing conflict of use in scarcity situations.
Integrated, climate-adapted solutions
The fact that the components of the water system are closely interlinked with one another and also with other sectors means that an integrated approach is required. Synergies must be identified and harnessed, and conflicting goals must be resolved. Climate-adapted management of water, service water supply in neighborhoods, or heat recovery from partial flows of wastewater are all measures that can increase the efficiency and resilience of the systems.
Concepts that allow for gradual integration into existing systems and that fulfill all the required functions, as well as being compatible with the components of conventional ones are needed in order to transform water infrastructures into systems that are climate adapted, resource saving and easily adaptable.
Wastewater as a resource
In terms of both energy and materials, wastewater is a resource. Therefore, wastewater treatment plants offer the best conditions in which to develop a resource center with the integration of innovative energy generation technologies.
These topics are also clearly addressed in the National Water Strategy and are being worked on and advanced by Fraunhofer ISI in various committees and processes, as well as in research and demonstration projects.