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Most German lakes miss the grade ecologically

April 13, 2018

Water quality in German lakes is generally mediocre to bad, according to government figures. Recent measurements show that just one in four German lakes meets European environmental standards

A lake in Lower Saxony
Image: picture alliance/dpa/C. Jaspersen

Three-quarters of Germany's lakes are in a mediocre or bad ecological state, according to government information published in newspapers of the Funke media group on Friday.

In a response given to a parliamentary question by Greens politician Steffi Lemke, the government said only one in four German lakes had been assessed as having good water quality in line with European standards.

Just 2.3 percent were judged to be very good.

EU water guidelines require all member states to bring all lakes up to a good water quality standard by 2027 at the latest — a goal that is unlikely to be achieved, according to the government.

Read more: Are we running out of fresh water?

#DailyDrone: Lakes in Germany

Too much nitrate

Lemke told the newspapers that the overuse of liquid manure in the agricultural sector was largely responsible for the problem.

"The high nutrient content allows algae to proliferate, causing the lakes to shrink and silt up," she said.

Tractor spraying liquid manure on a field (Symbolbild)
Germany has often been reprimanded by the EU for nitrogen pollution through liquid manureImage: picture alliance/F. May

Fishes and plants that would normally be found in the lakes no longer lived there, Lemke said. She criticized the recent coalition agreement signed by Germany's main parties for failing to contain necessary measures to protect the natural environment.

Germany possesses some 30,000 lakes, including the famous Lake Constance, which it shares with Switzerland and Austria, and the northern Lake Müritz, the largest to be completely contained in German territory.

tj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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