Water protection

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Warning of health risks from polluted water in the Bärensee nature reserve near Kaufbeuren

As water protection is defined as the totality of aspirations that water ( coastal waters , surface water and groundwater to protect against adverse effects).

Water protection has different purposes:

  • Keeping the water clean as drinking or industrial water in order to keep the groundwater pollution low;
  • Protection of aquatic (i.e. water-dependent) ecosystems as a part of nature conservation .

Water protection is therefore partly user-oriented and partly detached from user interests. Conflicts can arise between these orientations. With regard to groundwater, it is closely related to soil protection . Groundwater pollution as part of environmental pollution is a serious problem.

Marine protection and wetland protection are closely related as special cases .

Causes of Water Pollution

In surface waters

  • planar entry of pollutants from the air
  • Pollutants released by accidents in industry or traffic (e.g. tanker accidents, accidents or major fires in industrial plants)
  • Pesticides
  • Discharge of sewage
  • by washing out of over-fertilized, agricultural areas

In the groundwater

  • the water-soluble or liquid components of illegally dumped waste from private households, industry and commerce
  • Sewage from leaking sewer pipes
  • Excessive fertilization of fields with manure and manure mainly from factory farming
  • Pollutants released intentionally or unintentionally in industrial or commercial operations (e.g. due to undetected line leaks, negligent behavior by employees, industrial accidents, in earlier times also due to a lack of awareness of the problem)
  • Mineral oils, de-icing salts and residues from traffic and transport
  • Agricultural pesticides

Effects of water pollution

Today it is hardly possible to use groundwater close to the surface for drinking water , as the Drinking Water Ordinance stipulates that, among other things, no more than 50 mg nitrate / liter may be detectable in the drinking water. That is why ever deeper groundwater resources are being used to obtain drinking water.

Measures for water pollution control

Water pollution control is carried out with the aim of reducing the effects of human use of the water and its surrounding area to a tolerable level. In the area of ​​the European Union , the Water Framework Directive defines the achievement of a good ecological status as the goal of water protection. At the national level, this task is primarily served by water law . But other laws in the field of environmental law also aim at water protection, in Germany it is above all the Federal Immission Control Act that stipulates that industrial plants must use the state of the art . The state of the art is synonymous with “ best available techniques ” (BAT), which are published by the European Union in BAT fact sheets and binding “ BAT conclusions ”.

Measures for water pollution control can be:

The monitoring of the state of water and the development of water is called water monitoring .

General goals for water protection

Groundwater is an essential element of the natural balance. It is part of the water cycle and fulfills important ecological functions. Groundwater is one of the two most important drinking water resources. The other important sources are natural still and flowing waters, as well as artificial reservoirs. Therefore, where it is used for water supply, water must be largely protected from contamination. The following general objectives therefore exist for water protection:

  • The water must be protected from contamination or other adverse changes in its properties and preserved in its natural state.
  • The management of the waters must be in harmony with the natural balance.
  • Water must be protected as a precaution and across the board.
  • The quality measure is its anthropogenic largely unaffected nature.

Importance of water protection

Organic pollution of the rivers of the GDR 1990

In the 1970s, the Rhine near Düsseldorf was a body of water with heavy organic pollution. The result was a low oxygen content. The Neckar near Ludwigsburg also had an enormous O 2 deficit and a high concentration of wastewater fungi . In the 1970s, the Rhine and Neckar were known as the “sewers of the nation”. The water of the Rhine and Neckar got the late 1970s, the water quality class IV awarded, whereas today both rivers as well as most other rivers in Germany have almost drinking water quality (class II).

The pollution of the waters in the GDR was particularly dramatic . The GDR had a total of 90,000 kilometers of rivers and streams. In 1990, 46 percent of the 11,000 kilometers were no longer suitable for bathing, due to their organic, hygienic and salt pollution, no longer suitable for simple treatment in industry and certainly not for the drinking water supply. After reunification , the water quality of the rivers in the west was achieved through the construction of new sewage treatment plants and the termination of particularly environmentally harmful production processes.

Today, the constant monitoring programs of running water monitoring in Baden-Württemberg include careful biological-physical and physical-chemical investigations. They permanently monitor the water quality of running waters and standing waters and grade them with so-called water quality classes.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan Dunjatschik, Challenge water protection , Agricultural weekly newspaper Westfalen-Lippe 2/2013 of January 10, 2013, pp. 21-23
  2. Groundwater protection: objectives, hazards and monitoring. ( Memento of March 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Website of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)