Nature, The City's Resource
Increasing land use, the sealing of soil with hard, impervious surfaces and the increased risk of severe weather caused by climate change all combine to make water conservation and flood protection more of a priority.
Another issue growing in importance is the design of watercourses to be as natural as possible and, in the process, the correction of ecologically unsound developments, such as the straightening of watercourses. This process, known as renaturisation, can include the removal of riverbank armouring and embankments as well as the widening of riverbeds to create zones of flat water. The River Dreisam is therefore to be freed from its tight „corset“ at various points, creating a new, natural habitat for flora and fauna.
Groundwater is our most important source of drinking water and needs to be protected from pollutants. As rainwater seeps through green spaces, these areas fi lter out pollutants, encouraging the creation of new groundwater and draining away surface water. Unnecessary drainage of rainwater can be prevented by the integration of water-permeable surfaces and „green“ roofs into the construction plans for new areas of building.
The very first sewers were the „Baechle“, running down the sides of streets, which have been the pride of the city since the Middle Ages. Today, Freiburg has a modern waste water disposal system: wherever possible precipitation is to be retained and reused or allowed to seep into the groundwater where it falls. A charging system that distinguishes between what is known as „grey water“ and rainwater, offers incentives to the people of Freiburg to use resources sparingly, with the result that Freiburg‘s water charges are much lower than the national average.