Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: loopholes in the law and ailing systems prevent water from accumulating

Like last winter, heavy rain fills up the water supplies in MV.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: loopholes in the law and ailing systems prevent water from accumulating

Like last winter, heavy rain fills up the water supplies in MV. The Environment Minister wants more to be dammed. Experts say that the majority of the MV dam structures are dilapidated and that it is legally unclear who is actually supposed to operate them.

Neubrandenburg/Schwerin (dpa/mv) - The accumulation of rainwater on agricultural land proposed by State Minister of Agriculture Till Backhaus (SPD) fails due to unclear legal regulations and dilapidated dam structures. The spokesman for the state farmers' association and the water and soil associations MV said on Monday. "We are also in favor of more water remaining in the landscape, but the weirs and dams have been neglected for years," said Frank Schiffner, plant expert at the MV farmers' association in Neubrandenburg. The systems came from GDR times or even earlier. In addition, the goal of damming contradicts previous requirements to make the waters as continuous as possible for fish and aquatic life.

A few days ago, Backhaus had again suggested keeping as much precipitation as possible in the landscape in order to be prepared for drought like in 2022. However, a small inquiry from the AfD parliamentary group in Schwerin revealed that the dam and weir systems used to regulate the water levels in MV are largely dilapidated. For the answer, the water and soil associations had assessed the condition of 3,591 of the 7,016 dam and weir systems in the north-east.

The result was that around 51 percent of the systems were in an insufficient or unsatisfactory condition and needed to be renewed or repaired. This requires 252 million euros. Only 2048 of these plants still fulfilled their tasks.

According to the state association of water and soil associations, there are also no regulations in the north-east as to who may maintain and operate these systems. This is related to the water rights that the agricultural production cooperatives (LPG) used to have. There is no legal regulation for stowage. The associations would be able to do this technically, but there is a lack of money and staff.

Weirs, ditch systems and field drainage systems are designed to regulate the water level. Since summer droughts have been increasing, Backhaus has repeatedly demanded that farmers hold back water and not use groundwater for irrigation. The AfD had asked Backhaus to bring the hydraulic engineering infrastructure into a sustainable state "as soon as possible" and wants to discuss the issue in the agricultural committee.

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