Groundwater Levels of the Main Aquifer and Panke Valley Aquifer 2011

Map Description

The present groundwater contour map describes the groundwater situation of the main aquifer with violet groundwater isolines and the Panke Valley aquifer in northeastern Berlin with blue isolines. The distance of the groundwater isolines is 0.5 m. These show the piezometric surface area of the unconfined and confined groundwater, respectively (see also Fig. 3). In areas of the main aquifer with confined groundwater, the groundwater contours are displayed in broken lines. In areas with no main groundwater aquifer or with an isolated main groundwater aquifer of low thickness, no groundwater isolines are displayed. Those areas are shown with black dots.

The map is based on the topographical General Map of Berlin, 1:50,000, in grid format, and the geological outline for the Berlin state area 1:50,000 (2007), that was derived from the geological General Map of Berlin and Surrounding Areas, 1:100,000. In addition, the appropriate support points (groundwater measurement points and surface-water levels) as well as the individual waterworks are indicated, with their active wells and water conservation areas.

Differing regulations exist in the water conservation area Johannisthal fixed in January 18 2013. You will find the respective regions in the map Water Conservation District Johannisthal (Preliminary Order).

Hydrogeological Situation

On the plateaus, the main aquifer is extensively covered by the glacial till and bolder clay (aquitards) of the ground moraines. Wherever the piezometric surface of the main aquifer lies within this aquitard, groundwater conditions are confined. In sandy segments above the till, the periodic formation of perched groundwater is possible, which can, after extreme precipitation, rise to the surface. The groundwater levels of these locally highly differentiated areas have not been separately ascertained. Within the till, sandy islands may become filled with groundwater, or so-called stratum water (see also Fig. 3).

In the Panke Valley, on the northern side of the spillway, the Barnim Plateau, a major independent coherent aquifer has developed. It is located above the main aquifer, which is covered by the glacial till of the ground moraine (see also fig. 7 and 8). On the present map, this aquifer is indicated by separate blue groundwater isolines. A spur of the glacial till toward the Warsaw-Berlin Glacial Spillway creates an interlock of the Panke Valley aquifer with the main aquifer there.

For more information, see the Groundwater Brochure: (only in German)

Current Situation in May 2011

As a rule in Berlin, the groundwater incline, and hence, too, the flow direction, is from the Barnim and Teltow Plateaus and the Nauen Plate toward the receiving bodies, the Spree and Havel Rivers. Depression cones have formed around the wells at those waterworks in operation during the measurement period, and have sunk the phreatic surface below the level of the neighboring surface waters. Thus, in addition to inflowing groundwater from the shore side, the water pumped here also includes groundwater formed by infiltration (bank-filtered water) from these surface waters (see also Fig. 4c).

In May 2010, too, the potentiometric surface, which has been lowered in Berlin by drinking-water discharge over the past hundred years, was at a relatively high level compared to 1989 (Limberg et al. 2007: pp. 76 et seq.).

The since 1989 reduced raw-water discharge by the Berlin Water Utility as a result of the falling needs of drinking and industrial water is responsible for the constant increase of groundwater. Five of the smaller Berlin waterworks (Altglienicke, Friedrichsfelde, Köpenick, Riemeisterfenn and Buch) were shut down altogether between 1991 and 1997. In addition, drinking water production at the two waterworks Johannisthal and Jungfernheide has been discontinued temporarily since September 2001; at the latter, the same has been true for artificial groundwater recharging. However, under the immediate water management measures of the Senate Department for Health, the Environment and Consumer Protection, groundwater is still being discharged at the Johannisthal location, so as not to endanger current local waste disposal and construction measures. Likewise at the Jungfernheide location, groundwater was discharged by the Department through the end of 2005. Since January 2006, a private company has continued this work temporarily.

The Water Conservation Districts of the waterworks Buch, Jungfernheide und Altglienicke were canceled April 2009.

The overall discharge of raw water by the Berlin Water Utility for drinking water purposes dropped by almost half (45 %) in Berlin during a period of 22 years. In 1989, 378 million cu.m. were discharged, as opposed to 219 million cu.m. in 2002. In 2003, the discharge briefly increased slightly to 226 million cu.m. due to the extremely dry summer, but then dropped again by 2010, reaching 207 million cu.m. (Fig. 10).

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Fig. 10: Drop in raw-water discharge by the Berlin Water Utility over 22 year period
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The development of the groundwater levels from May 2010 to May 2011 can be seen in an exemplary manner at four measurement points which are largely unaffected by the withdrawal of water by the waterworks (Fig. 11).

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Fig. 11: Four measurement points in an exemplary manner: 340 und 5139 in the glacial spillway , 777 on the Teltow Plateau und 5004 on the Barnim Plateau
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The groundwater levels at two measurement stations in the glacial spillway, in the unconfined aquifer, were on May 15, 2011 unchanged (in the case of Measurement Point 5139), or 8 cm lower than they had been on May 15 the previous year (Fig. 12).

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Fig. 12: The groundwater levels at two measurement stations in the glacial spillway on May 2010 to May 2011
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

On the Teltow Plateau, the groundwater level at the measurement points in the covered, confined aquifer rose by 45 cm during the same period (Measurement Point 777), and by 19 cm (Measurement Point 5004) on the Barnim Plateau (Fig. 13).

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Abb. 13: Groundwater level at two measurement points in an exemplary manner on the plateaus on May 2010 to May 2011
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The precipitation at the Berlin-Tempelhof Measurement Point was 54 mm above the long-term mean (1960 to 1990) from June 2010 through May 2011. Above-average precipitation during the months of August, September and November 2010 (Fig. 14) caused the groundwater level to rise considerably during the subsequent winter months(Fig. 12 and 13). Thereafter, the extremely dry spring of 2011 caused the groundwater level in the glacial spillway to drop back almost to its original state. On the plateaus, this process occurred somewhat delayed. The maximum level of groundwater fluctuation during this period at the four measurement points was between 42 and 94 cm (Measurement Points 5139 and 777).

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Fig. 14: Monthly precipitation between May 2010 and May 2011 at the Berlin-Tempelhof Measurement Point, compared with the long-term mean, 1961 through 1990.
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin