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Agricultural water management in Germany

© Thünen Institut/Folkhard Isermeyer

LAWAMAD – Agricultural Water Management in Germany

The recent dry summers brought water management in agriculture on the political agenda and to headlines in the media. The importance of agricultural water management will be further increasing in the context of rapidly advancig climate change.

Background and Objective

Although current water use in agriculture lies below one percent of the total amount of water extracted, the issue of water management has gained in importance in the context of recent dry summers. Agricultural water management will remain of high topicality in the context of advanced climate change and its manifestations such as increasing temperatures and evaporation rates. For Thünen Institute as a federal research institution with economic, ecological and technological focus it is important to consider not only water protection but also water use in agriculture in order to provide political advice and contribute to the development of water use strategies.

The joint projekt LAWAMAD aims to analyse the options for improved water management in German agricultural landscape with the objective to increase water availability for irrigation.

Target Group

policy makers, agricultural producers, advisors, regional water associations, chambers of agriculture, interested professional and general public


The project will address the issue of water availability, demand and use from different perspectives, each elaborated within a separate subproject:

  • Subproject A will focus on the development of technical options for improved water management and on estimation of resources necessary for their implementation.
  • Subproject B will assess these technical options from socio-economic and legal perspective, and consider the upscaling of the technical options to the national level.
  • Subproject C will carry out comprehensive Germany-wide quantification of the irrigation needs and irrigation benefits, also in the context of expected climate change and its expected impacts on water balance.

Preliminary Results

Focusing on preselected landscapes, the project will demonstrate which water storage and irrigation options are available, which implications these have, and how legal and support frameworks are to be adjusted in order to promote the implementation of appropriate water management options. For all German regions the irrigation needs and irrigation benefits in the context of climate change will be quantified.

Publications on the project

  1. 0

    Ebers N, Schröter K, Müller-Thomy H (2024) Estimation of future rainfall extreme values by temperature-dependent disaggregation of climate model data. Nat Haz Earth Syst Sci 24(6):2025-2043, DOI:10.5194/nhess-24-2025-2024

  2. 1

    Stupak N, Ebers N (2024) Für trockene Zeiten. Bauernzeit 65(19):36-38

  3. 2

    Stupak N, Ebers N (2024) Für Trockene Zeiten : Wasserverfügbarkeit aus Speicherbecken. Bauernbl Schleswig-Holstein Hamburg 78(24; SH "Bauen auf dem Land"):20-23

  4. 3

    Stupak N (2024) Zukunft des landwirtschaftlichen Wassermanagements. B&B Agrar 77(2):8-9

  5. 4

    Ebers N, Stupak N, Hüttel S, Woelfert M, Müller-Thomy H (2023) Potenzialabschätzung von technischen Wasserspeicheroptionen, Bewässerungsansätzen und ihrer Umsetzbarkeit. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 58 p, Thünen Working Paper 227, DOI:10.3220/WP1700732748000

  6. 5

    Stupak N (2023) Wasser speichern [Interview]. Top Agrar 52(8):25


    10.2020 - 3.2025

    More Information

    Project status: ongoing

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