Global water resources at risk – solutions from three years of applied research

At the final conference of the BMBF initiative “Global Resource Water” (GRoW), experts presented the current challenges of the global water sector and discussed possible solutions. adelphi organised the hybrid-format event, which took place on October 20 and 21, 2020.


Recommendations for politics and business from three years of applied research: For three years, 90 German institutions from science and industry and their international partners have researched global analyses and local solutions for sustainable water management. Now they are sharing the results of their efforts: The 400 participants at the final conference acquired insight into unique data on global water use efficiency and the latest methods to predict water availability and droughts. The conference closed with broad recommendations for politics and business. In a “call for action,” participating scientists and researchers made the following demands: the systematic use of digitalisation for better water management; the consideration of local water management in global supply chains; and increased transparency in and factual bases for water management in general. Results and recommendations are available here.

Regional insights into GRoW case studies

The Sudanese Minister of Water, H.E. Dr Yasir Mohamed, participated as an online guest speaker; he emphasised the importance of these new scientific findings. With impressive images and figures, he demonstrated how increasingly frequent floods and droughts threaten people, cities and nature in Sudan – and how crucial reliable seasonal forecasts can be here.

Other projects examined the global water footprint of large companies such as Evonik, Volkswagen and the textile industry.  Among other things, they showed that more than 95 percent of water consumption in supply chains takes place outside of Germany – and has an impact on local water security in the production countries. Water quality is also a central issue, whether for dams in Brazil, where reforestation of the surrounding areas is urgently needed, or for the protection of water resources at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Together with their international partners, the research groups presented how water quality can be better monitored and secured.

About GRoW – Global Resource Water

With the funding initiative “Global Resource Water” (GRoW), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is making a contribution to achieving the sustainability goals. More than 90 institutions from science, business and industry involved in twelve joint projects and a transfer project led by adelphi. Characteristic of the initiative is the link between local and global action: The joint projects not only research local and regional solutions, but also develop improved global information and forecasts on water resources and demand.

The GRoW Video summarizes voices and recommendations from the GRoW community and emphasizes the need for quick action towards a more sustainable water management.

The conference “Water as a Global Resource”, which took place in a hybrid format in Berlin and online on October 20 and 21, 2020, provided an overview of the GRoW research on global analyses of and local solutions for sustainable water resource management. Presentations, films and other materials will be available for several weeks on the virtual marketplace, accessible here.

adelphi leads networking and transfer project

The twelve joint projects are accompanied by the networking and transfer project “GRoWnet”, led by adelphi. GRoWnet aims to identify and effectively use synergies between the joint projects. Against this background, adelphi actively supports the project plans in transferring their research results and solutions into politics and practice.

Contact information for the individual research groups is available on the GRoW website.

You can reach the networking and transfer project GRoWnet at

Publications of the GRoW project: