Environment – North – Dams, swamps and water: where climate change is a challenge – Wikipedia

North (dpa/lni) – Coastal protection and water management in Lower Saxony are to be directed towards adaptation to the expected consequences of climate change in the coming years. “We will have to invest many billions in the next few years to face the consequences of climate change because we have to rebuild the infrastructure that we have,” Environment Minister Olaf Leys said on Wednesday in the north (Aurich district). He spoke at the 2021/2022 Annual Report presentation of the State Agency for Water Management, Coastal Defense and Nature Conservation (NLWKN), which is already involved in climate change adaptation in many areas.

Coastal protection: The coasts of Lower Saxony will be equipped for higher water levels expected in the future with higher dams and modern barrages such as the new Hadeln Canal Lock. “We have a huge need to work throughout Lower Saxony, and especially in the Elbe,” said NLWKN’s Head of Planning and Construction, Jörn Drosten. For this reason, it is planned to raise 26 kilometers of embankments on the Elbe River north of Hamburg by up to 1.5 meters over the next few years, as is already the case elsewhere. However, for tall dams an area up to nine meters wide is required – a problem because some of these areas are valuable for nature conservation.

In order to be able to adapt to dams anyway, Lies promised exceptions to protect living creatures. “We have nature protection and coastal protection. I think the overriding public interest in coastal protection is so important here that we can make exceptions to protect living things.”

Groundwater: According to Lies, water management must also be adapted to the consequences of climate change in the coming years. Studies have already shown that floods could occur more frequently in Lower Saxony in the future – but at the same time drought phases could also increase and last longer, according to Head of Water Management, Stephanie Gaudat. After the 2018 and 2019 drought years, groundwater levels in the west and northwest of the country have recovered somewhat. “It looks very different in eastern Lower Saxony,” the expert said. There is now – before the onset of summer – a scarce supply of groundwater to expect.

So Environment Minister Les spoke in favor of converting the existing internal drainage system, which directs excess water into the North Sea, for example, into an intelligent water management system. The aim is to conserve water in the area for as long as possible during the dry phases of groundwater recharge and discharge as quickly as possible in case of heavy rainfall.

– Protecting peatlands: When it comes to climate protection, more emphasis should be placed on peatlands in particular because they are important carbon reservoirs. Lies said the first successes have already been achieved with the so-called Hanoverian Moorgeest rehydration, which is funded by the European Union. However, it took a long time to get in touch with many individual landowners in an area of ​​2,243 hectares. “We have to think about how to do it more quickly in the future.” In addition, a potential nationwide analysis is now scheduled to identify bog areas suitable for re-wetting.

Staff: The state office is concerned with career planning. “We have a great generation of change ahead of us,” said director Anne Rickmayer. About half of the 1,500 employees will retire in the next 10 to 15 years. For this reason, extensive work is done to maintain the knowledge required to adapt to climate change in the company through training and qualification. Since many jobs are temporary, it is also difficult to retain employees on a permanent basis.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220615-99-676410 / 3

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