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  Global Views
Storing Water against Hunger
BGR Presents Publication on Water Storage
Storing Water against Hunger

Irregular rainfalls and droughts frequently lead to crop failures and famines, particularly in Africa. In the Sahel alone, millions of people are threatened by a catastrophe. These events could be avoided by storing water during rainy periods.

A new brochure of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) will contribute to realise more water storage projects in those affected regions. The publication „Make a Profit out of Storage“ will be launched at the Stockholm World Water Week from 26th until the 31st August. „The storage of water will not only lead to more water availability, but also to higher economic returns, especially in the agriculture sector”, Prof. Dr. Töpfer states. The former Federal Minister for the Environment and former Executive Director of the UN-Environment Programme supported BGR with a foreword for the brochure.

It is the third part of the series “Managing the Water Buffer”, which was produced with support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and international partners, such as the Dutch Consultings MetaMeta and Acacia Water. In the publication methods of (ground) water recharge, retention and re-use are presented. In the first two issues, technical aspects of water storage in dry and wet regions were dealt with; the third issue now focuses on the economic potential. Successful water storage projects in 14 regions worldwide are presented, by looking at the investment costs of each project which is then compared to the benefits of each. „Economic calculations show, that food security, economic efficiency and ecology are not contradictory”, Franca Schwarz states, BGR-sub-department leader for International Cooperation. Sand dams in Kenya are built, for example, to recharge groundwater resources. Thereby, additional water is available during droughts which can be used for irrigation purposes. This guarantees the production of crops and a financial income, on which the local population depends. At the same time ecosystems on rivers and wetlands benefit of the additional groundwater.

Since centuries different forms of water storage are known. Still, such projects are seldom implemented in areas with highly fluctuating water availability because politicians and investors are put off by the investment costs. „Key to a successful implementation of such projects is economic efficiency. The brochure shows that adapted storage of water also pays off economically”, Prof. Klaus Töpfer explains.

After the dramatic famine on the Horn of Africa last year, food security is at the focus of this year’s World Water Week with the motto „Water for Food Security“. Through high population rise and especially long lasting droughts the local population is threatened by famines in large parts of Africa. Climate change could worsen the situation.

On Thursday 30th August the brochure „Make a Profit out of Storage“ will be launched in the seminar „Upscaling Water Storage Solutions: The Economic Potential“ and can be downloaded for free under the following link.

Vanessa Vaessen, 0511 643 2380,
Ramon Brentführer, 0511 643 2319,






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