Region: Eifel-Rur | Partner: Wasserverband Eifel-Rur

Partner Wasserverband Eifel-Rur works on two water reservoir. At large reservoir Rurtalsperre a study on (management of) water quality in dry times is carried out, at small reservoir Uersfeld the basin will be separated from the stream to enhance water quality.

Project Rurtalsperre

Study on the water quality of the system of reservoirs in the upper catchment of the Rur for long and dry periods


Eifel, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany

Project Scale

Catchment area (hydrol.) 662 km2

In collaboration with

District Government Cologne, drinking water producers, energy producers, national park Eifel, clubs

In the upper catchment of the Rur, six reservoirs were built in the Eifel-hills mainly to control the effects of flooding and to maintain the flow during dry seasons. Five of them form an interconnected system around the main reservoir ‘Rurtalsperre’. With a total capacity of 300 million cubic meters the function of this system is very important.

The reservoir-system also has the function to provide raw water for drinking water production. Due to the topography and the limited capacity especially the upper reservoirs ‘Oleftalsperre’ and ‘Urfttalsperre’ run the risk algal blooms during long dry periods. This can also have consequences on the next two dams in the reservoir system downstream.Concerning climate change with longer dry and sunny periods this problem is expected to increase.

At present there is a lack of knowledge about the behavior of the water quality within the dry scenario. This needs to be investigated. Within this context it can be remarked that in the last years there were already long dry periods in spring, which resulted in a loss of water quality in some of the reservoirs.

An expert’s opinion on the steering of the dams with respect to water quality is carried out to get an answer for the questions described above. Based on these results the management plan for the reservoir system will be checked. If necessary, proposals for adaptation will be made.


Wasserverband Eifel-Rur, Christof Homann: ,

Project Uersfeld

Disconnecting the “Flood control basin Uersfeld” from the Amstelbach in Aachen


Aachen, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany

Project Scale

Catchment area (hydrol.) 4,56 km2

In collaboration with

City of Aachen, Bezirksvertretung Richterich

In the catchment of the Rur, small water reservoirs were built to control the effects of flooding. They were often shaped as filled constructions with a stream/river flowing through. Stillwater in these reservoirs always bears the risk of eutrophication with effects such as algal blooms. Concerning climate change with longer dry and sunny periods this problem will increase.

In the small reservoir “Flood control basin Uersfeld” the separation of the basin and the stream will be the solution to enhance the water quality. The flood control basin ‘Uersfeld’ is situated in a rural area in the north of the city of Aachen. This local basin used to control the discharge of the Amstelbach. At present the basin is already suffering from eutrophy / hypertrophy and silting up. Thus the water quality is bad and will become worse if no action is taken. This is especially the case in long and dry periods.

In order to solve the problem it is planned to segregate the stream from the basin. The retention capacity lost by separating the stream from the basin will be regained by restoring the stream partly. Within the planning the enhancement of the water quality in the stream will be evaluated.

The theme of climate change and the need of adaptation to possible long dry periods will also be communicated to the local public by installing information boards at the local food path “Uersfelder Fusspfad” after the end of construction.


Wasserverband Eifel-Rur, Thorsten Schulze-Büssing:,