In the ongoing dispute over an extension of the protected area for the Munich drinking water wells in the Mangfall valley, the Miesbach district administrator Olaf von Löwis (CSU) opposes an instruction from the government of Upper Bavaria. This had once again requested the district office on Friday to issue a ban on fertilization and grazing for the areas in anticipation of the expansion that has been planned for years. This happened on Monday after an expert opinion that Löwis submitted to the authority and which was now also presented to the public on Monday. The hydrogeologist Uwe Tröger came to the conclusion that cattle farming and fertilization practices in the area do not pose a threat to drinking water. Instead, Tröger warned on Monday to take care of the sewage treatment plants in the catchment area.
Tröger, who held the chair for hydrogeology in Berlin for around three decades until his retirement, gave his assessment of the four days on which the Münchner Stadtwerke registered a bacterial load in the inflowing water in 2020 and therefore diverted it into the Mangfall instead of feeding it into their network. On all these days there was no connection with cattle, some of which were not grazing due to the season, but with floods in the Mangfall valley. The germs presumably come from sewage treatment plants that were overwhelmed by the amount of precipitation and are likely to discharge untreated wastewater. Mixed sewer systems for wastewater and surface water are “a serious problem in our state and not just in Bavaria,” said Tröger.
The government rejected Tröger’s report on Friday. The ban on fertilization and grazing, as requested in 2019, only affects three landowners, who would also be compensated for it. It is “a technically necessary measure that is provided for by the usual technical rules”. This is contradicted by Tröger and Löwis. They do not require a blanket official catalog of criteria, but rather each area to be considered individually. The Ministry of the Environment was with Tröger as an expert, emphasized Löwis. Therefore, he has all the less understanding that the report is now being discarded without a professional debate. Löwis sees the fact that the government surprised him on Friday with the instruction, which was made public at the same time, to issue a ban on fertilizers and grazing by December 1, as a breach of trust. “I expect dying to be taken back,” said Löwis. “It seems like the superordinate authorities are arbitrary,” added Warngau mayor Klaus Thurnhuber. He took up a formula of the association “Our Water” and the initiative “Heimatwasser”, which had been against the expansion of the water protection area and against possible restrictions for landowners and Monday at the district office.
All of this is not about an urban-rural conflict or even about turning the tide for the people of Munich, but rather about “an open-ended, transparent and legally secure procedure,” emphasized Löwis. A number of district administrators had simply left the procedure behind. Only Löwis’ green predecessor, Wolfgang Rzehak, felt obliged to push it forward. However, it failed due to legal and politically orchestrated resistance and was voted out of office in 2020 after a term of office.