Ecological waterbody development
diverse waterbody use
Humans have always used streams and rivers for their own ends: for drinking water, recreation, fishing, irrigation, disposal of wastewater, obtaining energy, and many other purposes. With the diverse uses of the waterways and their flood zones, the watermeadows, the appearance of the waterways has changed. They were made functional, i.e. straightened, the banks were reinforced and the profile of the waterway was lined with concrete. Dykes, weirs and barrages were built, and the overall course of the river was shortened. In many cities, they were built over, or terminated in the sewer system. Others were rededicated to become wastewater collectors. The primary aim was to dispose of wastewater and rainwater as quickly as possible through the river.
For humans and nature
What humans need from the waterways has changed. Rivers and streams will again be perceived as natural elements in the region, and although they continue to be intensively utilised, they will also be sustainably maintained, and subject to appropriate and forward-thinking development. With plenty of freedom for the independent dynamics of the waterways.
Today and in the future, the measures for waterbody maintenance and development can thus go in another direction. They aim to restore an intact river-watermeadow ecosystem, wherever this is possible while still taking into consideration the requirements of flood protection, wastewater drainage, and industrial and agricultural utilisation. In heavily populated watermeadow areas, for example, it is no longer possible to recover the original state. But even here, the conditions can be optimised to allow the river to return closer to nature. Many plants and animals thus obtain a significantly improved habitat, and the population gain near-natural river landscapes that can be experienced in more diverse ways.