Metal waterwheel in the stream: motif of the Hansgrohe Water Symposium 2012

Water Symposium 2012

“What water needs – ways of achieving a water-friendly economy”

Hansgrohe SE invited people along to the Water Symposium in the Black Forest for the fifth year in a row. It was the “needs” of this precious resource that were the main focus for 2012. Thus, international water experts got to grips with the issue of “What water needs”. On 8 November, together with numerous guests, they discussed ways of achieving a water-friendly economy.

Humans need water, but what does water need from us? Since it is polluted and over-exploited in many places around the world, above all water needs our protection and respect. In Schiltach, nine speakers – experts in research, teaching and business, and with practical experience in the field – opened up exciting perspectives on this issue.

Water needs protection and respect

The lectures and workshops focused on resource-conserving processes, innovative technologies and alternative energies. The programme featured topics relating to industry and politics, architecture and agriculture, catering and housekeeping (for proceedings and contents see download below). Dr. Klaus Lanz, founder of the research institute International Water Affairs, was moderator of the event.

Water needs room to flow

While the turnaround in energy policy is moving forward at a snail's pace, a Swiss innovator shows the huge sustainable advancements that could be made using hydropower: civil engineer Andreas Steinmann demonstrated how efficiently gravitation water vortex power plants work. And how flora- and fauna-friendly they are. This electricity generation is in harmony with the rivers and their inhabitants – absolutely not the case with dams.

Water needs fans, ambassadors and legal advocates

International and environmental law expert Kerstin Mechlem presented the key principles of regional, national and international water legislation. Her conclusion: water legislation has already come a long way. But we need to work together more effectively on an international level and to reinforce water protection legislation worldwide. In particular the legislation relating to groundwater, which is a public asset.

Water needs innovative technologies

Whether this is production with no waste water (Frank Schlegel), washing dishes without water (Mario Sommer) or heating with water and ice (Daniel Albiez): Such processes, which are extremely attractive from an ecological point of view, have long been a reality in industry, catering or housing construction. In lively lectures focusing on the technological aspects, the audience at the Water Symposium learned all about the resource-conserving methods and systems that are already in global use – and functioning smoothly.

Water needs smart farmers

Agriculture also bears a huge responsibility for this precious element. Dr. Andreas Fließbach of the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture knows: healthy soils have higher retention capacity and are efficient CO2 sinks. He explained what water-friendly soil management should look like today. And how farmers can counter dry soil, erosion damage and floods.

Water needs no chemicals

Adept housekeeper and cleaning expert Linda Thomas has decades of experience in tackling dirt. When it comes to spring-cleaning, she knows every trick in the book. In her workshop she gave an impressive demonstration of how housekeeping and groundwater can get by just fine with very little in terms of cleaning agents. The audience were astounded: the cleaning philosophy seems to be less is more!

“When we talk about water, we are talking about the future. (Richard Grohe)”

Impressions from the 5th Hansgrohe Water Symposium


©Photos: Braxart Fotodesign

  • Richard Grohe, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Hansgrohe SE, welcomed guests to the 5th Water Symposium at Hansgrohe Aquademie.
  • Fascinating music: Roland Zipfel conjured up sounds of water on the hang drum, putting guests in the perfect mood for this precious element.
  • Symposium moderator: Dr Klaus Lanz, chemist, water researcher and founder of the International Water Affairs Institute.
  • Intrigued and happy to discuss: during the breaks, guests exchanged views animatedly at the Hansgrohe Aquademie.
  • Globally committed: environmental law expert Kerstin Mechlem spoke about international water (protection) legislation.
  • Attentive and meditative: tea master Ulrich Haas introduced the participants of his workshop to the philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony.
  • Plant tour: Prof. Andreas Fath explained the complex technology involved in water purification in Hansgrohe's brass electroplating system.
  • Philosophical cleaning workshop: cleaning expert and book author Linda Thomas gets perfect results using water and microfibres.
  • Environmentally friendly: Heidelberg architect Daniel Albiez provided an insight into the promising solar ice storage heating technology.
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