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German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- German water supplies will become increasingly threatened this century as climate change raises the risk of droughts and water shortages in the country.

While Germany is considered water-rich, more water evaporates than falls as rain in the eastern part of the country, according to a report by a German parliamentary committee. Average temperatures may rise 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, resulting in more precipitation in the winter and less in the summer, the authors wrote.

“This will worsen the already unfavorable water balance in eastern Germany, which will further increase the risk for droughts and a generally worse water availability,” they wrote. Temperature increases in southern Germany will also threaten water supplies and as a result “biodiversity, and availability of snow in ski resorts.”

More than 1 billion of the planet’s 7 billion people already lack access to water, according to a United Nations report published in March. About a fifth of the world’s aquifers are over-exploited and water demand is expected to grow 55 percent by 2050 due to expanding populations and demand from factories, power plants, farming and households, the UN World Water Development Report said.

German drinking water costs may increase with contamination of supplies from pollutants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals rising faster than in other European Union nations, the BDEW utility lobby said last month. The agriculture industry should do more to protect the country’s supplies, BDEW head Hildegard Mueller said at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net Alex Devine, Alastair Reed

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