Hesse: Groundwater has not yet recovered from the dry summer

Groundwater, soil moisture, rivers, dams: Hesse has continued to lose water as a result of the third summer of low precipitation.

Hesse: Groundwater has not yet recovered from the dry summer

Groundwater, soil moisture, rivers, dams: Hesse has continued to lose water as a result of the third summer of low precipitation. Now the chase begins.

Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) - The dry summer of 2022 has long-term consequences for the groundwater. The lack of precipitation has led to "significantly falling groundwater levels", reported the Hessian State Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology (HLNUG) on Thursday in Wiesbaden. The rain brought some relief in the fall, but "despite this slight relaxation, the groundwater cannot yet be said to have sustained a sustained recovery."

"The groundwater level that is usual for this time of year is still well below the level at many measuring points," is the balance sheet. In the last two months, however, the soil moisture has increased. According to the office, there are at least favorable boundary conditions for the formation of new groundwater. A wet winter half-year "could not completely compensate for the existing deficit in groundwater, but it could at least significantly reduce it."

According to the German Weather Service, the summer of 2022 in Hesse was the second warmest and the driest since observations began. "It used to happen occasionally, but we've had three drought summers in Hesse in four years," said HLNUG President Thomas Schmid. "We have to be prepared for such hot and dry phases to become more frequent as a result of climate change."

Not only the groundwater, but also the surface water suffered from the consequences of the drought. According to HLNUG, in May the waters only carried two thirds of the usual amounts of water. By August the water was getting less and less. Although the low water level decreased due to the rain in September, the amount of water remained too low.

Pictures of the almost empty Edersee caused a sensation in the summer. According to HLNUG, the Edertalsperre was 19 percent full again at the end of October. However, the filling level depends not only on the precipitation, but also on the dam control.

The HLNUG data also show that soil water supply was good at all depths at the beginning of summer. However, the dryness then led to "in many cases severe drought stress, which also spread to the subsoil over the course of the summer," as the office reported. Here, too, the situation eased in the autumn.

Dry soil can lead to settlement damage. "In the event of further dry years, increased damage to buildings as a result of settlement is to be expected, especially in regions in which these settlement-sensitive soil layers occur," warns the office.

"The climate crisis is changing Hesse as we know it," said Environment Minister Priska Hinz (Greens). This has an impact on the forest, the water bodies and also on people's health. The country is promoting climate protection with the climate law and the further development of the climate plan. Making Hessen climate-neutral is "the order of the day".

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