Water Conservation Districts and Groundwater Use 1990

Map Description

The Berlin Public Water Companies waterworks are located mainly in the Berlin Pleistocene watercourse. Private sector water supply plants are located throughout the city.

The Teufelsee (see = lake) waterworks was closed in 1970. The gallery section at Nikolassee is not in operation either. Current water quality is too poor at parts of the Wuhlheide waterworks west gallery, at the Alte Königsheide gallery, at the Teltow canal in Johannistal and at 6 wells of the Jungfernheide waterworks. Therefore no water is being withdrawn.

The Stolpe waterworks is located to the North, just outside the city limits. It is operated by the Berlin Public Water Companies and serves the drinking water supply of Berlin and a few nearby communities in the state of Brandenburg. The protection areas of the Staaken, Eichwalde and Erkner waterworks, which serve communities in the vicinity of Berlin, are located both inside and outside Berlin.

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 2: Groundwater Withdrawals 1913 and 1990 or 1989
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Three reserve areas for future drinking water supplies were defined in East Berlin: Plänterwald, Gosener Wiesen and Kaulsdorf-South. They are located in direct vicinity to Protective Zone II in existing water conservation districts.

Withdrawal Amounts

Amounts withdrawn by the Berlin Public Water Companies have risen ever since the beginning of public water supplies. A clear reduction of removal amounts occurred after World War II. West Berlin removal amounts steadied in the mid-70’s. In East Berlin there was a continual increase until 1989 (cf. Fig. 4).

Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 4: Groundwater Withdrawal Amounts of the Berlin Public Water Companies 1960-1990
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin
Figures are for withdrawals of raw water. East Berlin waterworks (including Stolpe waterworks) refer to the calendar year. West Berlin waterworks refer to the water economy year. The sum for 1973 includes 8.2 million m3 for filling Teufelsee lake in Grunewald. The figure for 1990 includes 5.7 million m3 used in the Jungfernheide waterworks mainly for restoration of groundwater, and not for the drinking water supply.

The Berlin Public Water Companies removed 358.4 million m3 of raw water from groundwater in 1989, including Stolpe waterworks. Adding the 41.6 million m3 removed by private sector water supply plants (17.3 million m3 in East Berlin) and the 12.7 million m3 for groundwater retention at construction sites, yields a sum total of 412.7 million m3 withdrawn from groundwater for Berlin. In 1990, the groundwater amounts removed by the Berlin Public Water Companies sank almost 10%, down to 324 million m3 (cf. Fig. 4). This reduction is due to the drastically reduced withdrawals of East Berlin waterworks, including Stolpe waterworks.

The approximately 320 larger private sector water supply plants removed 42 million m3 of groundwater in 1989. This water was used as drinking, operating, and cooling water, and for plants and green areas. The approximately 60 plants which also remove for drinking water are specially monitored to maintain a water quality fit for human consumption. The largest plants in East Berlin each removed about 1.2 million m3 in 1989. In West Berlin the largest remover withdrew about 2.8 million m3.

The map depicts some private sector water supply plants whose permitted withdrawal amounts are zero, but which do remove groundwater. A few of these plants have received a permit in the meantime (the information in the map is from 1989). Other operators fall under the no-permit-required use, since their removals are minimal (§ 33 WHG resp. § 38 BWG). No permit was required under Allied law.

Amounts removed by West Berlin private sector water supply plants are dropping (cf. Fig. 5). There is a tendency to close such plants, primarily for economic reasons, and to take water from the public network. There are no comparable figures available for East Berlin.

Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 5: Groundwater Withdrawal Amounts According to Use in West Berlin from 1963-1990
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin
Since 1987, construction groundwater retention for restoration and redevelopment measures have been included. The figures are for raw water withdrawals and refer to the water economy year.

Groundwater Recharge

The goal of water management is to maintain a balanced groundwater economy. That means only so much groundwater should be removed as can be recharged. If removals exceed recharge, the groundwater reservoir will gradually empty; the groundwater level sinks. The West Berlin water level sank strongly in 1950-1975, due to large removal amounts of the Berlin Public Water Companies, private sector water supply plants, and groundwater retention at construction sites. The groundwater level has been rising since the mid-70’s (cf. Map 02.07). This is caused by smaller removals of groundwater by private sector water supply plants, and by smaller groundwater removals as well as groundwater returns at construction sites. The Public Water Companies had also established groundwater recharge plants in order to increase groundwater. Groundwater recharge plants in Spandau and Jungfernheide injected 53 million m3 of prepared surface water for percolation in 1990.

Besides "true" and manmade recharged groundwater, a considerable portion of water withdrawn by the Public Water Companies comes from bank filtered water. Wells in the vicinity of surface waters produce cones of depression, and water from the bank areas of the Havel, Dahme and Spree flow into them. The proportion of bank filtered water in the total withdrawal amount of each well gallery depends on the distance of the well from the surface waters. An average of 50% of the removals of the Berlin Public Water Companies has been assumed. Figure 6 depicts the origin of waters used by the public water supply, as well as a division of its uses. Water consumption from public water supplies (purified water including lake water) per inhabitant in West Berlin was 233 liters/day in 1990 (1991: 229 l/d). In East Berlin it was 318 l/d (1991: 254 l/d). The average for all Berlin was 268 l/d. Water consumption of Berlin households totaled 213 million m3, and per inhabitant was 172 l/d.

Fig. 6: Origin and Use of Water from Public Drinking Water Supplies in Berlin 1989/90 in million m3 per year
Fig. 6: Origin and Use of Water from Public Drinking Water Supplies in Berlin 1989/90 in million m3 per year
Image: according to AHU 1991

Increased sealing of soil surfaces and Berlin’s rising population necessitate more water conservation and new methods of recharging groundwater both to maintain groundwater balance, and avoid use of drinking water supplies from distant areas. One procedure striven for as a solution to this problem is the use of former sewage farms for the return of purified surface water, or the best purified water from sewage treatment plants. The groundwater recharge rate could also be raised by returning rainwater to percolation. Rainwater that would otherwise flow into the canalization could be separately collected and either directly discharged onto non-built-up surfaces, or discharged into artificial ponds to infiltrate the ground and percolate into groundwater. In this sense, measures to `de-seal’ surfaces would also contribute to an increased groundwater recharge.

In 1990, an ordinance providing for a groundwater withdrawal fee was adopted in the Berlin Water Law (§ 13a, Para. 1). This was intended as an economic incentive to promote thrifty groundwater use. This was intended as an economic incentive to promote thrifty groundwater use. It allows Berlin to charge users a fee for the removal of groundwater, for the purpose of a more sparing use of groundwater. The resulting income should be applied to the protection of the quantity and quality of existing groundwater, particularly to ward off threats to groundwater, and to ameliorate damages.