Groundwater Levels and Catchment Areas for Waterworks 1990
Berlin has kept a keen eye on its groundwater supplies since 1869. This comes as no surprise, as any water Berliners use for washing, drinking and industrial purposes is supplied directly from below the city.
The ground resembles a buttercream cake with many layers. Some layers are more permeable and retain more groundwater, as they consist of sand and gravel. These layers are called aquifers. Others consist of loam or even clay sometimes; water struggles to penetrate those. Experts call those aquitards.
Fresh water can be found underground as far down as 150 metres. Depending on the depth, four aquifers are distinguished in this area, some of which are connected to each other. One of them, the main aquifer, is the city’s primary source of drinking water. Its water level is therefore of particular importance. Hence, this parameter is measured every day. Annual maps, starting from the year 2001, present the levels recorded for the month of May, when the groundwater levels are usually at their peak. Some 1,000 measuring stations dotted around the city record the groundwater levels. Click here to access the daily measurements.
Berlin’s groundwater levels fluctuate. At the beginning of the 20th century, it dropped as a result of the construction of the underground railway and other major construction projects. Although the groundwater level rose again due to the war-related destruction of the city until 1945, it fell again in the following decades. Berlin’s water levels were relatively high in 2012 – up to one metre higher than in 1989. Years with high precipitation and our willingness to save water also benefitted our groundwater. However, due to most recent years with rather little rain, the groundwater level has dropped again by about one metre.