Cities heat up particularly badly in the hot summer sun – freely available water can help to relieve people. In the future, much more drinking water will flow for free.
Berlin – water march: In Germany’s cities and municipalities, many more publicly accessible drinking water fountains are to be set up. A corresponding legislative proposal by Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) passed the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday. “Access to drinking water must be as easy as possible for everyone in Germany,” said Lemke.
The draft law envisages that municipalities will in future set up drinking water fountains in parks, pedestrian zones and shopping arcades, for example – as long as this is technically feasible and meets local needs.
“The last dry and hot summers have shown us that persistent heat waves are no longer a rare occurrence in Germany,” said Lemke. Heat waves and droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity. Drinking fountains with tap water are among the basic building blocks of good heat protection.
“If local authorities take action now, they will make an important contribution to protecting the health and, above all, heat protection of citizens,” says Lemke. “Tap water is a controlled foodstuff, it saves energy and is provided at the drinking fountain without packaging – this also benefits the environment.”
According to the draft law, such wells should in future be part of the public water supply as standard. This should become mandatory for cities and municipalities. However, they should be given extensive flexibility in terms of the location and number of drinking water wells. Drinking water fountains are to be set up in central, frequented and easily accessible places.
According to the ministry, there are already more than 1,300 public drinking water fountains in Germany. In a first step, cities and municipalities are now to set up around 1,000 additional wells, the ministry said. The amendment to the law should now pass the Bundesrat and then be discussed and decided in the Bundestag. dpa