Background and objectives
The availability of water in sufficient quantity and quality is the most important basis for human health, sustainable development of regions and an intact environment. However, water is becoming scarce in many regions of the world, not only in classical arid areas. It is a growing global challenge to supply households, agriculture and industry with water on demand: Water demand will increase dramatically in the coming years worldwide, mainly due to population growth, intensification of industrial and agricultural activities and the expansion of urban/metropolitan areas. At the same time, the availability of water is already very limited and even declining regionally. Contributing factors include the pollution and overuse of water resources, climate change and the disproportionate/unequal distribution of water resources.
Against this background, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched the funding measure "Sustainable technologies and concepts for increasing water availability by water reuse and desalination" (WavE). WavE aims at providing a significant contribution to balance/compensate the mismatch between increasing water demand and limited water resources and at facing water scarcity. In order to increase water availability in the long run, innovative technologies, process concepts and management strategies are to be developed in joint research projects with participants from science, industry and application.
High implementation potential is seen in the recirculation of industrially used water, in the treatment of saline groundwater and surface water as well as in the reuse of water through the use of treated municipal wastewater. In addition to technological solutions and intelligent management of the relevant material flows, appropriate communication and training measures are also planned.
The investigations and developments are carried out under practical conditions at locations in Germany and abroad, also including demonstration plants on a technical scale. Of particular importance is the transferability of technological and conceptual approaches to other locations with similar boundary conditions, also with regard to the positioning and competitiveness of German companies on the international technology market.
Joint research projects
In WavE, 13 joint research projects and one scientific support action are funded. The joint research projects work in transdisciplinary and practice-oriented teams, with experts from business, science and application. They address the topic of "increasing water availability" from different perspectives using different approaches.
Scientific support action
The WavE funding measure is supported by a scientific support action (TransWavE) which assists all actors in the implementation of the funding measure. As the central interface, TransWavE is intended to promote the dialogue between the BMBF, the project management agency, the steering committee and the joint projects as well as with the (professional) public. In this way, TransWavE serves in particular the cross-thematic networking of joint research projects and supports the transfer of results between projects and into practice.
In addition, WavE is supported by a steering committee as an accompanying body. In addition to the coordinators of the 13 joint research projects, the steering committee also includes external experts from water management practice. The Steering Committee acts as an interface between research and application and serves for the direct exchange of knowledge and information. It is intended to introduce impulses from water management into the funding measure and support its application-oriented focus.