Environment | HoMaBiLe installation

We pour pure water!

True cost as installation

Clear, pure and clean! That’s how it should flow from the tap – our drinking water. The fact that this foodstuff can be enjoyed here in our country without hesitation is not a matter of course.

The problem has been known for years: Bavaria’s groundwater is in poor condition, about one third is polluted with nitrate. As a result, more and more wells have to be closed and originally drinkable groundwater now has to be treated in a complex and costly way so that it does not exceed the limit values.

Water at risk!

The major part of Bavaria’s drinking water, about 90 percent consists of former groundwater, which unfortunately is no longer safe. Excessive fertilisation in conventional agriculture causes excess nitrate to seep into the groundwater and contaminate it. In addition, drought and overexploitation of groundwater lead to rising nitrate levels. As less water flows in groundwater streams, the nitrate is less diluted. The main reasons for the low groundwater levels are conventional agriculture and climate change.

What is our drinking water worth to you?

According to the Environmental Ministry, about 30 percent of the groundwater in Bavaria shows higher nitrate levels than EU directives would allow. Therefore, in order to meet the demands on drinking water, it costly has to be purified. Which leads to a loss of water quality as many minerals are also filtered out. In addition, the process is very complex and costly: the necessary infrastructure costs millions.

Wells have to be closed

Many wells have to be closed, smaller water suppliers in particular do not have the infrastructure and resources for the necessary water purification. Other water suppliers rely on so-called deep wells, extracting deeper groundwater, which is therefore protected from contamination. The catch? Resources are used that would otherwise be available to future generations.

Water – infinitely precious

Too little is being done to protect the basis of all our lives. We all need water. However, elevated nitrate levels and other pollutants can harm our health, as nitrate is converted into the substance nitrite in the human organism. This substance is particularly dangerous for infants, as it can prevent the oxygen uptake in blood.

Organic farming protects water resources

The development and expansion of organic farming is important to protection our water. Organic farming relies on natural farming methods and avoids the use of synthetic and chemical pesticides as well as artificial fertilisers. As a result, less nitrate gets into the soil and water.

A mind game: 100 hectares of organically farmed land could protect around 129,000 cubic metres of water from nitrate and pesticides. This could save around 84,000 euros that would otherwise be spent on water purification. In concrete terms, this means that a family of four with an average water consumption could save around 122 euros per year in costs if all farmers in the catchment area of their water supplier practised organic farming.

It should be clear, pure and inexpensive

Pollution of drinking water causes so-called externalised costs – also called consequential costs: The water purification is not paid directly by the polluters, such as farmers and consumers of agricultural products, but ultimately by society as a whole – in the form of higher water bills.

Tollwood is creating an installation at the festival. Here you can not only perceive water sensually, but also learn about the true price of this valuable foodstuff.

Exterior design: Anna Allkämper