Youth voice: Groundwater Quality in the Rhine Basin
During the Interactive Workshop: Water Challenges in the Rhine Basin: Inter-relations between climate change and water quality, we discussed the current situation of the groundwater in the Rhine River. According to the River basin management plan 2021 draft, the status of the groundwater in most of the basin shown a quantitative "good status" and it has achieved good chemical status. No effects of anthropogenic intrusions of salt or other pollutants are detected. Nevertheless, some points of the river have still not achieved a good chemical status due to the increasing trend in the concentration of pollutants.
The main issues affecting the groundwater are salinization, the contamination due to some social pressures like the high density of population, changes of land use, and the unsustainable agriculture practice linked with water extraction. However, a remarkable point highlighted during the discussion is the lack of groundwater information. The technical data is available but is not properly socialized with the communities. It is important to make visible and appealing the problems of the Rhine river. The population can contribute to the development of initiatives and help to solve environmental problems.
Some proposed solutions by the participants include, but are not limited to restoration; reducing pollution; assessing the ecosystems and water surface; better-integrated water management; a good connection between water governance and transboundary policies; and finally, the education of the population in groundwater issues.
The role of Youth for the Rhine is to take actions to make visible the current situation and issues of the river to the community, amplify the voices, and create communication channels for the youth and the institutions. This implies the familiarization with the current situation of the river, engaging young people to suggest solutions, initiatives, and activities to make a change in the environment and the Rhine river.