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GRÜNE LIGA publishes background information and positions on the consequences of lignite mining on the water balance

kohle.wasser.geld_282x384-equal.PNGCottbus, 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.

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Environmental associations win in court: Jänschwalde opencast lignite mine must be stopped


  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe and GRÜNE LIGA successful with urgent application against main operating plan before Cottbus Administrative Court
  • For years, operator LEAG has been pumping out drastically more groundwater than permitted by water law.
  • Opencast mining must be stopped by 15 May
  • DUH and GRÜNE LIGA demand that the missing recultivation concept be submitted without delay.

Berlin/Cottbus, 17.03.2022: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and GRÜNE LIGA have succeeded in stopping the Jänschwalde opencast lignite mine in court. The Cottbus Administrative Court today ruled in favour of the environmental organisations and suspended the main operating plan for the open-cast lignite mine. The reason is that for years the open-cast mining company LEAG has been pumping out drastically more groundwater than permitted by the water law. The amount is now many times the permitted annual volume. The court grants LEAG a time buffer of almost two months until 14 May to take the necessary safety measures to stop opencast mining. From 15 May, the excavators must then be at a standstill.

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Save the Date: Environmental Festival 2022 on 12nd, June in Berlin


The 27th ENVIRONMENT FESTIVAL will once again take place in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, 12 June 2022 from 11 am to 7 pm. The GRÜNE LIGA Berlin e.V. is looking forward to many visitors, committed and diverse exhibitors, entertaining live stages and many sustainable actions. This year's ENVIRONMENT FESTIVAL is dedicated to the elixir of life: water.



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Consistently reduce nitrogen and phosphate pollution in German waters - fertiliser legislation requires comprehensive amendment

SN187095622_4060959247296512_6518992184506615432_n_395x263-equal.jpgAssociations and organisations of the "Nitrate Initiative" call on the new federal government to consistently implement the EU Nitrate Directive. This is prompted by the current negotiations between the federal government and the German states and the EU Commission to improve fertiliser legislation in view of the ongoing EU infringement proceedings on the EU Nitrates Directive. The signatories include BUND, BDEW, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Deutscher Naturschutzring, Germanwatch, Greenpeace, Grüne Liga, Global Nature Fund, Verdi and WWF.

Specifically, the organisations involved are calling for a new designation of nitrate-polluted and eutrophic areas on the basis of concrete measured values, as the previous modelling is not EU-compliant. According to calculations available to the Nitrate Initiative, nitrate- and phosphate-polluted areas in the federal states have so far been artificially reduced by up to 50 percent and necessary protective measures have been suspended. In addition, fertilisation control is not possible due to the lack of specifications in the Material Flow Balance Ordinance. As a result, about 24 percent of groundwater bodies are still not in compliance.

The organisations of the Nitrate Initiative also advocate, in particular, a compulsory material flow balance for all farms, as well as the publication of manure imports and the presentation of a national catalogue of measures to curb manure tourism. In addition, they expect the measures to reduce nitrate and phosphate pollution to be included and published in the third management plans for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, as well as the definition of suitable water and environmentally compatible management measures for nitrate-polluted and eutrophic areas. "The Nitrates Directive must finally be implemented in such a way that the requirements of European law are met and agriculture has planning security. Of course, targeted support programmes and cooperative approaches should continue to play an important role in this context," the organisations said.

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Water Newsletter

Always up to date on the topic of water protection with the Wasserblatt. With short news items and an extensive nationwide list of events, the Water Bulletin of the Green League provides monthly information on current events in the water sector. Subscribe free of charge to the water bulletin distribution list at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and receive the water bulletin with the latest news by e-mail every month.
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All issues of the Water Newsletter 2022:

Water Newsletter May 2022 (pdf 1,6MB)

Water Newsletter April 2022 (pdf 379 KB)

Water Newsletter March 2022 (pdf 642 KB)

Water Newsletter February 2022 (pdf 550 KB)
Water Newsletter January 2022 (pdf 319 KB)

All issues of the Water Newsletter 2021:
Water Newsletter December 2021 (pdf 2,3 MB)


The GRÜNE LIGA Federal Contact Point Water has been a member of the EEB's Water Working Group for over 20 years and is a founding member of both the Water Working Group of the Forum Environment and Development and the "Living Lakes Germany" network.



Michael Bender represents the GRÜNE LIGA as an observer at the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe (IKSE).




LogoStiftungLivingRivers.pngIn 2021, the cooperation between the GRÜNE LIGA and the Living Rivers Foundation was intensified and a joint office was established at the federal association.



Together with the GRÜNE LIGA Berlin, we were active in the Aktionsnetz Kleingewässer Berlin, in 2022.









Logo_WN-2.jpgSince January 2023, the GRÜNE LIGA Berlin e.V. is partner in the pilot project Wassernetz Berlin. We will organise 24 dialogues at water over 3 years (around 8 per year) to raise awareness of the public on the issues faced by water bodies and offer training in their management (biodiversity, physical and chemical status, etc.), as well as helping our partners in the project to prepare for the enhancement and restoration measures that will be implemented in the framework of this pilot project. You can find the schedule of dialogs on our events page.





On the European level, the GRÜNE LIGA e.V. is also member of the European Water Movement. The EWM aims at reinforcing the recognition of water as a commons and as a fundamental universal right.





On a global level, the GRÜNE LIGA e.V. is also involved in the People's Water Forum, a coordinating space for Water Justice Movements around the world.






Advents-Ökomarkt am Kollwitzplatz
03 December 2023
12:00 - 19:00
Ökomarkt am Kollwitzplatz
07 December 2023
12:00 - 19:00
Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Advents-Ökomarkt am Kollwitzplatz
10 December 2023
12:00 - 19:00
Ökomarkt am Kollwitzplatz
14 December 2023
12:00 - 19:00
Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
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