Energy crisis and supply-chain disruptions could threaten drinking water supplies in Germany, an industry association warned on Tuesday.
"Municipal suppliers have their backs to the wall, not only because of pricing, but also because of the low availability of basic chemicals," VCI President Markus Steilemann told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
According to Steilemann, there is a shortage of hydrochloric acid in particular, needed for wastewater treatment. Threatening shortages have now emerged because of high energy prices and compromised supply chains, he said.
Steilemann added that as a consequence of these shortages, individual authorities already suspended some environmental regulations for the short term: "This means that higher phosphate levels in wastewater are tolerated, so that higher phosphate levels can be discharged into waterways."
The problem still mainly affects wastewater, Steilemann continued. But he warned at the same time of far-reaching issues with the fresh water supply: "If the supply bottlenecks continue to develop as dramatically as they are at the moment, then it's foreseeable that the problem will spill over into the fresh water supply."
The official accused politicians in Germany of failing to recognize the seriousness of the situation: "It's really the case that in the meantime, due to high energy prices and the collapse of local value chains, certain supplies are at risk for the population."