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Global warming and the associated longer dry periods and more frequent heavy rainfall events are having a noticeable impact on the water balance of lakes and wetlands in Germany and Europe. This leads to additional stress factors for aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity and increasingly highlights conflicts in water use.
An ecological distopia and an outlook for all Europe ? The Greek Volvi Lake dried up completely in 2019.
Against this background, the current flash study "Lakes and Climate Change" highlights the available research findings on the impacts of climate change - and the associated changes in temperatures, precipitation amounts and distributions - on lakes, small water bodies and wetlands in Germany, also incorporating findings from other European countries.
Udo Gattenlöhner, Michael Bender und Marlene Bär Lamas
The long version of the study is available to download here (in German): www.grueneliga.de/images/Dokumente/Skript624.pdf
You can find a summary of the BfN Study here (English):
The publication “BREAK FREE – Restoring the biodiversity of rivers by removing dams” addresses the effects of barriers on migratory fish highlighting the worrying and catastrophic situation on the Mekong River (going across 5 countries in Asia) where the constructions of hydropower dams are putting not only the river and its components at risk but also all the already vulnerable populations depending on the Mekong River. The intensive use of water for agricultural irrigation can even lead to the complete drying out of the river bed as it is the case for the Colorado River. A number of dam construction projects are also on the table in the EU, including Northern Italy. On the other hand, there are striking examples of dam removals in the USA that show the efficiency of dam removals on biotopes and ecosystems restoration. In Europe such examples can also be found in France where 2 big dams are currently being removed at the Sélune River and in Finland where dam removal meanwhile is a more common practice.
According to the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 at least 25,000 km of rivers need to be restored into free-flowing rivers through the removal of primarily obsolete barriers and the restoration of floodplains and wetlands. The EU Commission released a guidance reporting one dam or weir every 1.5 km on European Rivers. Dams have different purposes, like hydropower or water supply, but many structures are ageing and some don’t fulfil their originally intended purpose, anymore. Whereas it is mandatory to consider the removal of ageing dams, severely impairing migratory fishes, the question of hydropower, especially in energy crises such as we live nowadays, must also be properly addressed.
Authors: Michael Bender and Athénaïs Georges, with contributions provided by World Fish Migration Foundation, Free Rivers Italy, WWF Finland; David J. H. Blake, Herman Wanningen, Pao Fernandez Garrido and Elena Alfaya.
You can find the Brochure here: https://grueneliga.de/images/Wasser/dam_removal_EBOOK.pdf
You can find the Brochure in French here: https://grueneliga.de/images/Wasser/BREAK_FREE-FR.pdf
The whole Interview of M Alban Thomas, Responsible of the Information System of the Sélune Project, is available here: Interview Sélune Project.
Cottbus, 10.02.2022. The environmental network GRÜNE LIGA has already issued numerous expert statements on how to deal with the water balance in Lusatia, which has been significantly disturbed by lignite mining. Under the title "Coal.Water.Money.", the most important contexts and demands have now been clearly summarised and published.
Opencast lignite mines are among the most serious interventions in the water balance and have shaped Lusatia for many decades. Problems caused in the process were often left to later generations to solve. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the decision to phase out coal: now all the cards must be on the table. What are the real follow-up costs of the opencast mines? Who is responsible as the polluter and to what extent? Above all, there are only a few years left to find out what damage can still be avoided or reduced.
The paper clearly contradicts claims that an early coal phase-out would aggravate the water problem: "The fact is: between the decommissioning of the opencast mines and the end of the groundwater rise, there will be a bottleneck in the flow in the Spree - and this is completely independent of whether coal use ends in 2038 or earlier. The cause of the water shortage is the opencast mining itself, which has removed the groundwater supply in the river's catchment area," says René Schuster, author of the paper.
Without fundamental changes in European agricultural policy, the goals of the Water Framework Directive cannot be achieved. Nutrients and pesticides, but also the transformation of watercourses for intensive agriculture, are causing problems for water bodies. The GRÜNE LIGA Federal Contact Point for Water has compiled some positive approaches across the EU and published them in cooperation with the European Environmental Bureau EEB in the brochure: "Agri-Water-Nexus - Agricultural practices that protect water".