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The alteration of waterways systems by regions dominated by heavy industry was not a phenomenon restricted to the Emscher region. In adjacent areas to the north too – and thus in the LIPPEVERBAND‘S area of responsibility – there are rivers and streams that have been converted into open wastewater channels. The Seseke and some other tributaries of the Lippe are indeed comparable with the Emscher in terms of their history of use as wastewater conduits.
As with the Emscher, the waterways here have been freed from their ‘concrete corsets’ since mining migrated further to the north. In future, wastewater will flow through underground conduits, so that rivers and streams can again be fed with clean water. Wherever possible, waterways will be given space to evolve naturally, so that not only valuable biotopes, but also attractive recreational areas can be created on their banks. Along the urbanised stretches of the Lippe and Seseke in particular, the conversion programme will also result in a substantial improvement of quality of life and thus contribute to an overall upgrading of the area as a place to live and work.
In the past 25 years we have invested over EUR 1.5 billion into expanding our wastewater treatment works and wastewater conduits and into the ecological development of bodies of water. The positive effects of this are demonstrated not only in the substantial improvement of water quality, but also in the upgrading of rivers and floodplains and thus in an overall revitalisation of a region of high landscape, water management and cultural quality.