Keywords: demographic change, demographics, infrastructure, sustainable development, wastewater, Germany, population decline, ageing population, grid-bound infrastructure, water industry, sustainability
Demographics as a new challenge for sustainable development in the German wastewater sector
The coincidence and dynamics of population decline and aging and a new regional distribution of the population pose a new challenge for a sustainable development for which there is no historical precedent. The regional distribution of population reduction will vary considerably. Shaping the future politically means facing up to the challenges of the demographic change and thus trying to answer the question: what consequences will this change have for the infrastructure of Germany and, in particular, the grid-bound infrastructure? This question is important, since infrastructure is crucial for generating economic growth and increasing the international competitiveness of any nation. Those with political responsibility have to deal with these issues, because the way they are handled will decide on the ability of society to meet the needs of its current and future citizens in a constantly changing environment. To investigate the regional impacts of demographic change on the German grid-bound infrastructure, we selected the wastewater infrastructure for our analysis. This infrastructure is very suitable for illustrating the challenge for the water industry over the next few decades. We will demonstrate these effects for three scenarios in our wastewater infrastructure model.