As providers of public service, cities and municipalities have the duty to ensure a safe supply of drinking water supply, sanitation and stormwater management. In doing so, they safeguard human health and the aquatic environment and provide flood protection. A large portion of the German water infrastructures are aged. Hence there exists an appreciable need to reinvest in infrastructure in the near to medium term. For the coming years, estimates for capital expenditure requirements are as high as 8 billion Euros per year in Germany alone. At the same, changing conditions are exerting increasing pressure on the complex systems of water supply and wastewater disposal which have developed over decades. Not only are water service providers exposed to increasing requirements for resource and economic efficiency and ecological sustainability but also to the growing challenges of climate and demographic change. The adaptation of water infrastructures to the mentioned changes requires cross-sector solutions. What is needed is an integrated assessment of the ecological, socio-economic and technological concerns which also considers land use and both demographic and climate change.
With the funding priority “Sustainable Water Management” (NaWaM), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds the development of innovative technologies, processes and system solutions for the sustainable management water resources. NaWaM pools the activities of the BMBF in the field of water research within the BMBF-Framework Programme for Sustainable Development (FONA).
The funding priority encompasses the five action areas “Water and Energy”, “Water and Health”, “Water and Nutrition”, “Water and Environment” and “Water in Urban Areas”. The research foci within the topic areas are formulated and issued in the form of thematic BMBF funding guidelines.
The funding measure "Smart and Multifunctional Infrastructural Systems for Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Stormwater Management” (INIS) focusses upon urban water infrastructures and concretizes the action area „Water in Urban Areas“. Over a 3-year period, from 2013 – 2016, 13 collaborative research and development projects will receive funding to the total of 30 million Euro with the aim of developing innovative and feasible solutions for adapting urban water management to changing conditions in Germany.