10. Mrz 2010

Alliance for Water

Rethink and act

Worldwaterday / VDS position paper “Water” / Sanitary sector affirms sustainable resources responsibility / Invitation to dialogue / Incentive for “Alliance for Water” / All groups under obligation / Concrete suggestions and demands / Legitimacy through performance

Frankfurt/Bonn – (vds) “A paradoxical phenomenon: in the opinion of many experts, water is the most important, but also the world’s resource that is the least noticed by the public. However, there is no shortage of serious analyses and prognoses that urgently highlight the major global challenges of obtaining a water supply that is both quantitatively and, in the true sense of the word, qualitatively in line with human dignity.” This is the verdict in the preamble of a new position paper that the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) presented first time for the “ISH 2009” and for the worldwaterday, every 22nd of March. The umbrella association for the small- and medium-sized business sector announced annual overall sales of about 16 billion euros. In future, this paper will be regularly updated, supplemented and expanded. At the same time, an invitation is sent out to all interested parties or participating groups from politics, administration, the economy, academia as well as consumer and environmental organizations for “open, constructive dialogue”.

In the concrete contribution to information and the debate, ultimately the will for commitment to a nationally and internationally required “Alliance for Water” is expressed. There is a “clear, objective legitimacy” for this, emphasizes VDS Managing Director, Jens J. Wischmann. With products and systems developed, produced and sold by the sanitary industry, this sector has set “international standards” for advanced water technology. Permanent innovations ensured that this requirement will also be fulfilled in future. Additionally, the comprehensive installation and service competency is of substantial importance for permanent guarantee of a hygienically and perfectly healthy drinking water supply.

The finer detail is focused, among others, on the diverse framework conditions that underscore the necessity of sustainable and intelligent “water concepts”. This includes the objective, as formulated by the community of nations during the world summit in Johannesburg, of halving the share of the world’s population without access to clean drinking water by 2015. Currently, that is the case for 1.2 to 1.4 billion people. For that reason, the declaration of political will ought not to remain “lip service”. “As part of the whole”, the sanitary economy is oriented to the “overall sustainability chain” through its endeavours, and takes ecological, economic and social components equally into account.

From subsidy stop to communication offensive

In the position paper, entitled “Rethink and Act”, the VDS formulates diverse suggestions and demands that are intended to provoke “further discussions”. These extend, explains Wischmann, to the state’s role, the private sector and levels involving various groups. The catalogue includes the following points:

  • Subsidy of water prices in some regions or federal states is to be stopped, as this ultimately is merely an incentive to waste water, especially in areas with low water resources. 
  • Purpose-oriented water investment for and in the “Third World” is especially to be significantly increased due to health and hygiene aspects.
  • A specific percentage of the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development must be used for water projects.
  • Research and technology support for “water” in general and for intelligent water-recycling systems in particular is to be substantially reinforced.
  • Special legal guidelines such as the introduction of a water pass for buildings and/or regular control of water pipes and installations are to be tested and, if applicable, implemented.
  • Water-relevant products could be marked with proof of corresponding voluntary sustainability.
  • Cross-industry (project) alliances are sensible everywhere where networked solutions can contribute to more secure drinking water supply for populations.
  • The elementary meaning of drinking water and the resulting responsibility of each individual have to result in consistent information and awareness campaigns that should already begin before a child reaches school age.
  • To release water from its frequent “low interest status”, the most “spectacular” and therefore high awareness communication measures are to be essentially expanded. Here, not least the media must be more heavily committed than previously.

“Ultimately creating a lobby”

The German sanitary industry is not restricted to activities that increase “demands against third parties”. Instead, it remains faithful to its previous approach of fulfilling the idea of sustainable water responsibility thanks to its own achievements. Examples are the active involvement in the introduction and implementation of voluntary sustainability certificates, the initiatives such as “drinking water check”, which have already been introduced in Germany, as well as achieving or participating in special information and communication offensives such as the “Blue Responsibility” campaign also started for the “ISH 2009”. Ultimately, Wischmann comments: “Our advances are ultimately to help create a lobby for the life-giving resource of water.”

For those who are interested, the complete position paper can be obtained from the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) – by telephone (+49 228/92399930), fax (+49 228/92399933) or e-mail (info@sanitaerwirtschaft.de). It is also possible to download this via www.sanitaerwirtschaft.de.



Challenge: currently, about one fifth of the world’s population has no access to clean drinking water. People living in Asia and Africa especially suffer as a result. This and other conditions motivated the German sanitary industry to produce a comprehensive position paper. This was first published at the “ISH 2009” and invites all involved groups to more commitment for sustainable responsibility for water.

Graphic: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) 
 Picture 3026




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