The old rights of the Reisach version come before the court: We clarify here how things will continue and what the public utilities say about it.
Miesbach – Stadtwerke München (SWM) should reapply for approval for the Reisach groundwater catchment. The case is now with the administrative court (we reported). We discussed some of the most pressing issues with District Administrator Olaf von Löwis (CSU) and the administration.
Why this step now?
In the course of the petition against the immediate ban on grazing and fertilizing in the planned water protection zone (we reported), lawyer Benno Ziegler discovered the connecting tunnel between the western and eastern derivation of the Reisach outlet and made it known to the district office. The credible information about a higher use of the water intake than recorded in the original plans almost forces the Löwis administration to take a closer look. The agency has been doing this for months. The result: “We have an unauthorized situation, which automatically means that the Munich public utility company has to submit a new application.” The public utility company has not yet submitted any documents that could change this situation. The Stadtwerke appealed against the decision in good time. A justification is still pending.
Is the Munich water supply in danger?
no The municipal utilities can obtain their water in the district of Miesbach. District Administrator von Löwis also emphasizes at every opportunity: “No one wants to turn off the water for the people of Munich.” Although the district office does not currently see the operation of the Reisach version as approved, there are very high hurdles before it is switched off. The authorities would have to come to the conclusion that the Reisach version had no chance of approval. This is less to be expected, and there are no efforts to that effect.
Does the lawsuit affect the arrangement of the water protection zone?
The question of rights and the protection zone may be directly related thematically, but legally they are not in the present case. The district office cannot overlook the fact that water is being extracted in their area of responsibility, and the legislature gives top priority to health protection. Löwis also does not want to be accused of delaying the expulsion process, as has already happened. It will also be continued. Questions that the district office has about statements by Stadtwerke München are currently being examined by the government of Upper Bavaria.
When could there be clarity on the question of old rights?
This can take a while. It can now be a year and a half before the administrative court meets. It is considered likely that the matter will go to other instances. It can take up to five years from the beginning of the legal dispute until a decision is reached, for example by the Federal Administrative Court. “To be honest, I find it very charming that the lawsuit means that a court has to deal with the rights,” says Löwis. That’s where this weighty question is in the right place. As is well known, previous attempts to bring the old rights to court had failed. Up until now, the relevant authorities had firmly assumed that the rights would not be shaken.
What advantages would the district have if the rights had to be applied for again?
The permit under water law is limited and must be reapplied for every 20 to 30 years. In addition, the public utilities must comprehensively justify the necessity and compatibility of the water abstraction – incidentally including an examination of alternatives. Löwis: “This is a complex process for the municipal utility, but it is permissible because we have relatively new legal requirements.” It is only logical that the municipal utility also fulfill these new requirements – after all, they want to know that the protected area meets the most modern standards . The district administrator emphasizes: “This is not directed against the city.” They only want to put the issue of water production on a solid footing.
What do Stadtwerke München (SWM) say about this?
On request, there are two clear statements about the decision of the district office. On the one hand: “The SWM and the authorities superior to the Miesbach district office, in particular the government of Upper Bavaria, expressly do not share this legal opinion. The decision that was issued is illegal.” On the other hand: “A connecting tunnel was planned from the start. The discharge capacity planned from the start was not increased by the construction. The construction and operation of the connecting tunnel had official approval.” A certain amount of nervousness can also be felt. The assertion by the Miesbach district office that the old rights for the Reisach version do not exist “in any case does not contribute to securing Munich’s water supply,” it continues.