Water maintenance

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Water maintenance is the bureaucratic term for measures for the maintenance and development of water bodies with the aim of maintaining and improving the water management and natural spatial function as well as navigability. It is regulated by the Water Resources Act and the state water laws.


The WHG stipulates in Section 39 that water maintenance must follow a holistic approach: it is the same

  • to ensure proper water drainage and
  • the removal or retention of water, debris, suspended matter and ice in accordance with water management needs and
  • to maintain the navigability of navigable waters and
  • to maintain and promote the ecological functionality of the water, especially as a habitat for wild animals and plants.

Water maintenance must be based on the management goals of the Water Framework Directive (see §§ 27 to 31 WHG) and must not jeopardize the achievement of these goals. The maintenance of the efficiency and functionality of the natural balance must be taken into account during maintenance. Furthermore, the image and recreational value of the water landscape must be taken into account.

According to DIN 4047-5, water maintenance is divided into

  • Weed removal (removal of weeds and removal of the plant matter in the water; plants in the water area are cut off above the bottom; no sediment removal)
  • Mowing (machine or manual cutting and removal of excessive vegetation on banks)
  • Clearance (removal of flow obstacles and landings; removal of sediments, dead wood, plants and objects from the water)
  • Ground clearance (removal of flow obstacles and landings to restore the drainage cross-section; complete excavation of silted up zones)

The main objectives of the measures are accordingly

  • the preservation of the river bed by sludging, removing weed growth and aggradations, filling scouring ,
  • Keeping the banks free for water runoff z. B. by mowing bank reed and bank shrubs as well
  • Preservation of the banks, in particular by maintaining and replanting bank vegetation appropriate to the location, bank protection work and backfilling of bank breaks.

All interventions in and on the water body should be kept as low as possible and be carried out in a nature-friendly manner in order to achieve the management objectives. In particular, measures in protected biotopes should always be coordinated with the nature conservation authority. The use of chemical agents in water maintenance is in accordance with Section 9 (3) WHG requires a permit from the water authority ( Section 8 WHG). The maintenance of technical facilities such as weir systems or flood protection facilities is only part of the water body maintenance , insofar as they serve the purposes defined in § 39 WHG.


According to § 40 WHG, the maintenance of surface waters is the responsibility of the water owners, unless it is the responsibility of local authorities , water and soil associations , municipal special purpose associations or other bodies under public law according to state law. The federal government is acc. Art. 89 GG Owner of federal waterways and therefore bearer of the maintenance burden on these waters.

Article 40 WHG also regulates the possible distribution of maintenance costs. Since the maintenance measures can also interfere with property of third parties, § 41 WHG regulates rights and obligations between the bearer of the maintenance burden on the one hand and the water owners, residents and residents on the other.

Entertainment schedules

The basis for regular water maintenance is the establishment and continuous updating of water-specific maintenance plans. They are structured hierarchically and describe in cartographic or tabular form.

  • State of water from an ecological and technical point of view (morphology, water ecology and deficits; hydraulic characteristics, technical structures, maintenance providers, legal framework, specialist planning involved, etc.) as well as the desired model of water development with the development potentials or restrictions.
  • Measures for water maintenance and development (planned types and intensities of measures, precise location reference and timeframe for regular measures, design measures in water bodies and banks, targeted omission, etc.).
  • Operation control, monitoring and controlling (operation control of personnel, devices and companies, classification of the watercourse according to maintenance intensity; documentation of the results of maintenance and development; documentation of the effect of the measures).

See also

Lake therapy

Individual evidence

  1. See: Directory of federal inland waterways serving general traffic. In: Federal Waterways Act (WaStrG), Annex 1. Accessed on August 13, 2016 .


  • German Institute for Standardization eV (DIN) (Ed.) (1989) : DIN 4047/5 - Agricultural hydraulic engineering; Terms; Expansion and maintenance of waters. Berlin.
  • German Association for Water Management, Wastewater and Waste eV (DWA) (2010) : Leaflet DWA-M 610 New ways of water maintenance - maintenance and development of rivers. Hennef.

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