Berlin’s Spree River faces an impending crisis as it gradually dries up. As a first consequence, the river has an unusual backward flow. It is due to urban water management and treated wastewater release as well as the missing precipitation.
The Spree’s depletion is exacerbated by the end of coal mining in the Lausitz region which is reducing water inflow by up to 75% during dry months. Solutions involve diverting water from other rivers or pumping from Lake Constance to Brandenburg. Continued extraction from former mining areas is a practical, yet ecologically sensitive option.
Tesla’s expansion in the near by town of Grünheide adds pressure, aiming to double production and intensify water demand. Conservation measures are critical, advocated by Berlin’s Environment Senator and Waterworks Chief.
The challenge lies in balancing industry growth with environmental preservation, while warnings from the Umweltbundesamt are highlighting the urgency. Berlin must navigate a sustainable path forward, aligning policies and efforts to ensure the Spree’s survival as nature already shows signals of distress.
For more information around water and nature, get connected and join us for a better resource use.