Berlin and Spree threatened by water shortage due to coal phase-out in Lusatia

The Spree is threatened by an increased water shortage after the lignite phase-out in Lusatia – with consequences for Berlin’s drinking water supply. This is the conclusion of a study published on Monday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). According to the study, with the end of lignite mining, operators are pumping significantly less groundwater into the river. According to the authority, the Spree could therefore carry up to 75 per cent less water locally in dry summer months. (Sueddeutsche: 12.06.23).


Alarming forecasts: river water deficit threatens drinking water in Berlin and region

For the Saxon part of the river, experts forecast an annual water deficit of around 95 million cubic metres, and for the lower reaches of the Spree in Brandenburg of around 126 million cubic metres. If the demand for water remains the same or increases, there is a threat of increasingly frequent and prolonged water shortages in the region, especially in dry years. The authors of the study also see Berlin’s drinking water supply threatened by this.

Lignite phase-out in Lusatia threatens Spree water balance and Berlin drinking water supply. UBA study warns of water shortage
Berlin and Spree threatened by water shortage due to coal phase-out in Lusatia

Creative solution approach: using water from neighbouring rivers and mining lakes against impending water shortages

They therefore call for significantly more water to be saved. In their estimation, however, savings alone will not compensate for the predicted water deficit. They therefore advise transferring water from neighbouring rivers such as the Elbe, Lausitzer Neiße and Oder. In addition, the region must expand its water storage capacities. To do this, existing reservoirs must be rehabilitated and made capable of using their full capacity. Mining lakes such as the Cottbus Baltic Sea could serve as further reservoirs.


“In Berlin and Brandenburg, the worst-case scenario could result in a severe water shortage if no decisive countermeasures are taken,” explained UBA President Dirk Messner. Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin are facing corresponding challenges, he said, which they should quickly address together with the water industry.

How coal mining leads to water shortage in the Spree River

According to the study, the water discharge in the Spree was artificially increased by mining in Lusatia for more than a century. The reason for this is the pumping out of groundwater during coal mining. The pumped groundwater has raised the water level in the Spree. The current drinking water supply in Berlin and Brandenburg is based on this system.

The study investigated the water management consequences of the lignite phase-out planned for 2038 over a period of several years. Associations, responsible federal and state authorities as well as local politicians and civil society were extensively involved, it said.

AFP + Blackout-News

Zuletzt aktualisiert am May 16, 2024 um 15:38 . Wir weisen darauf hin, dass sich hier angezeigte Preise inzwischen geändert haben können. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.
Zuletzt aktualisiert am May 16, 2024 um 15:28 . Wir weisen darauf hin, dass sich hier angezeigte Preise inzwischen geändert haben können. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.
Amazon-Marke: Presto! TAD Küchenrollen, extra saugstark, weiß, 32 Rollen, 1er-Pack
Prime  Price: € 23.56 Jetzt auf Amazon kaufen
Price incl. VAT., Excl. Shipping
Zuletzt aktualisiert am May 16, 2024 um 15:27 . Wir weisen darauf hin, dass sich hier angezeigte Preise inzwischen geändert haben können. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.
Scroll to Top