Federal State of Berlin: Water in Lusatia (WasserKultur)

Sustainable development of lignite succession landscapes from the perspective of water availability in Berlin-Brandenburg and in consideration of climate change

WasserKultur focuses on optimizing land use and recultivation strategies in Lusatia (Brandenburg, Germany), a region that faces one of the largest water quantity and quality conflicts in Germany due to intense lignite mining.

For decades, the discharge of the Spree was artificially increased by the inflow of the pumped mine water, thus ensuring continuous water supply to Brandenburg and Berlin. With the shutdown and subsequent flooding of the open pit lignite mines, water availability in the downstream areas of Lusatia will decrease significantly because:

  • the water availability in Berlin depends significantly on the quality and quantity of the Spree discharge,
  • groundwater and Spree water are used to flood the open pit mines,
  • projected climate changes will lead to a decrease in groundwater recharge during summer months, resulting in a decrease of the natural water supply.

The objectives of WasserKultur

  • a quantitative analysis of the current strategy of recultivation with respect to its impact on groundwater recharge and
  • the assessment of the influences of open pit mining activities and climate change on the water availability in the region.  

WasserKultur aims to improve the groundwater resources in Lusatia, considering competing water consumer interests, regional development plans, and climate change.

Study site

Lusatia (Upper Spree), Brandenburg, Germany

Project partners

Berlin: Technische Universität Berlin - FG Sustainable Engineering (TUB)

Brandenburg: Forschungsinstitut für Bergbaufolgelandschaften e.V. (FIB), Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)


Funding is provided by the State of Berlin & the Technical University of Berlin, funding measure "Pro Sustainability".

Project period

2021 -2023

Film: Water emergency in Lusatia

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Polluted drinking water, turbid lakes

Watch report at Frontal 21