Hessen: Water in poor condition

Sight on a river which is crowded by trees.

The WWF warns: “Although Hessen is one of the nationwide pioneers in groundwater protection, the waters are in poor condition, contaminated with nitrate and mercury that are harmful to health. The main causes of poor ecological condition are pollution from agriculture and straightening, construction and interruption by dams. He refers to an analysis of official authority data. The 91st Conference of Environment Ministers, which took place in Bremen from 07.11.2018-09.11.2018, should “finally take water protection seriously”, according to WWF board member Christoph Heinrich. And the WWF’s warning is only the tip of the iceberg: due to persistently high nitrate levels in groundwater, the European Court of Justice condemned Germany on 20 June 2018. As a result, the German government passed a new fertiliser ordinance. Is that enough? Karsten Specht, Managing Director of the Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband (Oldenburg East Frisian Water Association), believes that it is at least a step in the right direction. Problematic is the lack of transparency, the eternal struggle of the lobbyists with the political actors, and right in the middle of it the consumers. A model such as that in Denmark, for example, where farmers are allocated a certain amount of fertiliser for use, would be desirable. Another motivating reason for reducing nitrate pollution is the otherwise threatening rise in drinking water prices – yes, tap water is and remains drinkable – but separating water from nitrate is neither easy nor cheap. Nor are the fines to the EU Commission if the situation does not improve.