The End of The River

Uploaded by JJKK794 on 06.11.2012

Water is precious
essential for life
a valuable commodity
and harmoniously etched into our landscape.
It flows like a lifeline for the whole of europe.
Rivers are highly sensitive ecosystems that must keep flowing
to make life possible for humans,
for all animals and plants.
Unfortunately, our rivers are no longer free-flowing.

Today, European rivers are dotted with dams, locks and hydropower plants.
At the beginning of the last century, and ever since man has begun to use hydropower to generate electricity,

more and more hydropower plants have been placed in this highly sensitive ecosystem.

Widespread opinion says that the generation of renewable energy from hydropower
is green and environmentally friendly.
But just how green and environmentally friendly is it really?

On sunday September eleven I was at the Lech river
with my parents in law and my children.
We just wanted to sit there and relax.
Within about two hours the river level dropped drastically so that basically
only a small trickle of water was left.
When my children and I looked at the dried up area,
we found dead and dying fish in puddles everywhere.
So my children and I picked them up with our hands and put them back into the river,
- or rather, into what was left of the Lech.
This was such an awful and sad sight.
So many fish had died. And at the same time the channel
that was diverted into the city of Gasthofen was full of water.
And when my father in law and I walked further along the Lech, the dam of Gasthofen,
we passed a gigantic puddle that bubbled. My father in law said:
'Look, there is gas rising upwards'. But when we had a closer look
we saw that this was not gas but a shoal of dying fish.
And my father in law said 'yes, nature is cruel'.
I said, 'this is not nature. It"s mankind, which is cruel.'
The water is simply being diverted into the channel
so that the hydropower stations have enough for their needs.
It is a scandal what is happening here but every cubic meter of water is money.
And therefore the water has to be diverted.
The Lech and its original inhabitants get only a rivelet, nothing more.
It was really a sad moment to see what was happening to water,
which was needed to run a hydropower plant.

If a small child catches a bullhead and takes it home to watch it,
somebody could come along and say, that fish is a protected species.

But if a hydropower plant holds back all the water,
so that this protected species dies in dozens and hundreds then,
well, that's ok then.
This ultimately is injustice to the animals and the river.

I have reported this incident to the river police.
Now the operators of the hydropower stations are requested to answer.
I am curious to see what they are going to say,
or if they are saying anything at all.
Apparently, the good intention
to produce clean energy has also its dark side.
Responsible action towards the environment and nature
does not seem to be that easy.
People want to move away from nuclear energy,
but what many don't know is that it is
not feasible everywhere to switch to hydropower.
We do not yet have the knowledge we need
to make hydropower more environmentally acceptable.
This is a disaster. There is always a trade-off taking place. And when I see
how much electricity is produced in the hydropower plants all over Germany,
and especially here in the Lahn,
and what comes out of it, the so-called "green energy", it is absolutely the wrong label
The amount of energy that comes out of it is minimal. You can forget that.
When it comes to European rivers lots of money is made,
regardless of the huge environmental damage it causes. As soon as a stream
of water starts flowing, then the monetary stream also flows
in the European stock exchanges.
Beside the profit that can be generated by renewable energy,
one important thing is that renewable energy,
as the word says,
must be sustainable, and that means that
we have, I would say, zero impact on the nature.
It cannot go on like this.
We do not want any further expansion of these hydropower plants,
and we want the existing facilities on the Lech
- that is the technology that has been put into the Lech -
to be reshaped so that it becomes more ecologically acceptable.
More water must be allowed to flow through the Lech again.
The fresh-water fish must get a chance again, and also the people
who would like to live alongside the river, and the river must get a chance again.
The use of the hydropower has left its mark on the Lech.
The Lech has been transformed into a chain of dams.
In many places nothing is left of the natural environment of the past.
Can you imagine the way it was. The Lech was up to four kilometers wide.
That means there were countless channels and arms of the river.
And between these channels and arms there were gravel and sandy beaches.
It was scenery that we cannot recreate any more.
In Europe, the Lech is an alarming example of what happens if a river is developed radically and systematically

in order to generate as much electricity as possible.
This method is called "hydro-peak".
That means
the water in the Lech is stored in lake Forgensee
when the demand for electricity is low
for example from Friday afternoon
until Sunday evening.
And then on Monday, Tuesday - at times of increased energy demand -
the sluice is opened via remote control from the city of Landsberg,
and the reserve water flows through the turbines, and the energy is sold on the European Energy Exchange.

So one can generate highly prized energy in the Lech river, and sell it.
And this is exactly what has been done.
The German energy provider "E.ON" is active in this field.
It covers the area south of the city of Augsburg up to the north of Augsburg.
And nowadays the energy providers "LEW" (Lechwerke) and
"BEW" (Bayerische Elektrizitätswerke, i.e. Bavarian electricity company).
Between them they generate peak-time energy in the Lech for the Energy Exchange in the city of Leipzig.

That means that the Lech basically is not driven by rainfall anymore
but in reality it's water level is strongly controlled
by the energy exchange in the city of Leipzig.
We're standing here in Gersthofen, a little bit north of Augsburg.
Here they divert all the water from the Lech river to the channel behind me.
As you will see the main river is almost dry.
Now we are 20 metres from the channel right about here. As you can see the main river is totally dry.
The only stream of water that's running comes from the fish pass right there
on the left side of the dam. Through the main weir nothing is running at all.
Not even a cubic metre.
When I first came here to the river meadows of Lech more than 30 years ago,
I must say, I was fascinated by this world.

I come from Franconia. This alpine, or low alpine, river country
that you can still perceive today,
has simply fascinated me.
I have walked upstream and downstream many times, even to the source.
I must say this wild river, especially as it has once been,
has fascinated me from the very beginning.
Today the Lech is the most obstructed river in the whole low alpine country.

I have to say concerning both the Lech as well as the other alpine rivers
they have paid their dues
- one chain of dams and locks after the other.
Unfortunately, they are all ecologically in a wretched state.
Today on the Lech between Füssen and Augsburg there are twenty dams all-in-all.
Only one single dam has a fairly, to some degree, functioning fish pass.
Just imagine that.

The old dams are outdated and must be improved ecologically and technically.
Fish migrate upstream as well as downstream.
This natural behavior can mean death for many fish.
The public cannot see what is happening,
because it all happens on the water.
Only very occasionally does this mismanagement
become visible for us all to see.
Often it is argued that you need to have several waterways,
in order to protect the fish, in order to make sure they go around the power plant.
But now in a very perverse way it's actually done in such way, that the fish
are directed straight into the plant - into their death so to say.
It is frustrating, in a way, to see that the rules, that were done with good intention

when implemented can have an adverse effect. So, thats why my message is,
let's take inspiration from the good examples.
The promises of the hydropower plant operators
to protect fish sound good,
but often do not function in practice.
Gratings are in place to stop fish and floating debris
from ending up in the turbines.
These gratings are said to be an environmentally friendly measure.

However, in the debris we still find the victims,
that did not manage to use the fish pass.
And day after day
the victims of this power production disappear

in containers, unnoticed by the public.

This can even lead to a complete and unseen disappearance of an aquatic animal species.
And because it happens under the water surface,

it is not visible.
Fish do not shout. They are simply not present in the scenery.
As a layman you cannot judge whether the water is really alive or not.
The problem is, that a change takes place in the water body,
which is not realized at all by the public.

Another problem, besides the desertification,
of the diverted river stretches, is the increase of thermal stress.

We are increasingly worried about that.
We have determined that our rivers have become warmer, and rising temperature
of one to two degrees has already spelled the death sentence for greyling.
Of course long reservoir areas contribute to warming as well
- that means a rise of the thermal loading of our rivers.
is due to the campaign modern this new national one of one transplant anyone or
the grave of spotting species are affected right this village mall
usually also detect a rise of the ph values in the last number of years as
well as high as your prediction
algae that grows to die at some point
and that we saw disintegration of oxygen in the water
and algae photosynthesis shoes also changes and the key issue no heels
lebanese strong p_p_h_ values if especially during the day these are some
problems that have to be considered in the comprehensive survey
and that will increase in the morning about
the fact that hydro power plants also contribute
to the development of greenhouse gases like me saying
is another negative side effect not known for the public
this is a day in the rebel army
and when you look at the bubbles tickets to see that justice rising up destined
to stay in pairs are currently in the water causing all the intricacies
collect on the bottom and dr
with this rotting because oxygen up the surrounding area seems to have two
thousand independent asked if that was the content of this month and gases they
harmful to plan is for texas because it just twenty five times residency road
when supporters of hydropower argue repetitive produced through hydropower
these people are significantly
because it lowers the output of carbon dioxide
if you get to mention the side effects
in most of the eighty k she said he thinks the aa field youth a height or
whether it be cost mall
action that we are doing eight made shit other problems for the by a diverse city
fought the feast race for the quality of the water i hope that we had that
the european union recommends the development of indian news of renewable
energy but no more members are becoming aware of hydra powers negative effects
an increase in the speaker critically towards hydropower
who gave us accept credit cards cannot solve our energy problems especially
about the small hydropower plants
the european water framework directive requires a good week ecological status
for waters by two thousand and fifteen in this context the possibility of
running waters as top priority
increasing numbers and continued use of hydro power plants comes more annoying
conflict with ecological goals hydropower presents katya example
of ambiguity between renewable energy production form and environmental
used to do for me it didn't get to sustain correctly informed that there
are currently about seven thousand three hundred your seven thousand three
small hydropower plants in germany
and about four hundred
more concerned about ninety percent of the yield mother pulp production is
generated in the big power plants and not as a small ones
who's that smaller idaho
sitcoms twenty-two hundred maybe a hundred and fifty two the last
when you compare them to me
fake ones
they come together and find them
but the question for the time
physicist among
cubism to energy could be moved close to two nd or shown to meet on toy if one
looks at the whole car production germany
but the question of the smarter programs estimated at ceo point three percent
both if one realizes what small hydropower plants could you cancelled
your magical which is to people's everyone must also consider what damage
these small at all times create sixty-four and all in all the damage
done it's actually higher payments interventions which uh... when this is a
situation that has for a test of the federal environment office for many
years complete trumpet
you know
if we doubled our portion of some one hundred car production and the whole
energy mix from zero point three to zero point six welcome all remaining members
would be destroyed and we would still have made no essential contribution
climate protection
p_n_g_ production from hydropower is promoted in new york instincts
and some states the operators get a guaranteed price
this provides a stable income
increased impression that hydropower is environmentally desired
and his ecologically okay
it gets subsidies from making small hydro cuts and that's absolutely not to
worry psychic
i wouldn't build a lot of new hydro in europe to potential is not that great
and youth we shouldn't go into or a small rivers and put new ida station
i think it would be much more environmentally friendly to do uh...
wind power is actually better and solar heating energy and even solar cells in
the future
uh... that is probably much more ecologically efficient
and especially not building many smalley wants because
the environmental destruction could kill about weather
it's much bigger when you build many small ones than one big
the consumer price custserv pictures we've paid for this kind of power
production is higher the environmental cost is even higher
we do a lot of damage to our river ecosystems and biodiversity even risking
than some species would disappear from our planet for good
what you can do it
wouldn't one day our children my grandchildren probably when i read in
the newspaper or invokes but that there was one sufficient ought to say god
what's called a deal we have to have met all of the photographs for hiking on
stations and one day is going to exist anymore
somewhere you'll survive
and reproduce thanks to an unusual strategy
is based on funny but today's news travel by car
this is not safe for her
than taking the river
their agenda is about a hundred and fifty kilometers from the river mayan
for the river right
first the fish would not survive without human help
if they're going to stay with us
for the audit for the advance our ideals that lead into separate yourself from
the terrifying
take them part of the water and transport them concept requirements
so that they are not injured and convinced that see helped me get my
rather my own house thirty-seven power stations and thirty-seven terrifying
sitting and not a single deal would have gotten into the limelight
this is a flat-out almost everybody was about the arsenals
on their fishermen here on the line and there are faced with the bankruptcy is
this project is not successful with all have to corrupt fishing
right she is this is a typical to have an interesting see that
disease questions on the skin of the side of our convo
you will not survive the trip
digitize initiative
that she's a settlement in the white are smashed to bits late fifties apparently
these bright spots in the skins suggest he's already had several injuries
visit is obviously such an interesting but yes reginald factors inside
there's lots of love him shaded
this is metallic contaminants
is insufficient organizing in
let me just constantly scraped off
films operate outside of our station piece that has something to consider so
maybe they do it seems that conscious right not group enchanted but the
unifying until november eighth stereo tribute to somebody else's them below
does not go through
he always takes transparent group it would be needed
the defendant in the description
kidney failure
and the way would be helpful
one thing is clear
such a transfer is an exception considering the thousands of hydro power
plants in europe
a final solution to the problem cannot be achieved in this way
sticker does
i think that the solution must be tours two flights
the higher power plant operators perform a considerable and higher contribution
to the protection of the fish
and also without retaliation off make the system if this is not the case at
hydro power is not environmentally friendly
since march two thousand ten polluted water resources at came into effect this
explicitly requires improvements investment and channel sales
for of course this is also a conflict that has to be solved with the operators
because every drop of that does not go through the turbine but through the main
weather channel his last full day electricity generation except that the
damages are not only conduct fined two hundred fish during migrations became
extent two kilometers of correct in this affects for example the bobble reaches
integrating reaches into lower trial trisha
and these are highly sensitive natural habitats not only with and i think fish
species the docile and endangered big muscles species for example we have the
common agreement muscles and the freshwater pearl muscles in one of the
system and when you see what kind of damage the small hydropower generation
can do is such a stretch of river then you can become really fearful when you
think of the protection of endangers species
decisive this could become the european user inevitable fate its life begins
in this are just received
off the coast of florida
as a small lover he travels from that to the european inland waters
that remains betrothed to fifteen years bended returns to the sagas of seed to
which incidently
it doesn't only once in his lifetime
other migrating fish species like salmon
producing fresh water
then migrate to sell water at sea
to finally returned to the exact spot
where they were born to spore
homie that plague to mail a day xd
the survival of these migrating species he's totally dependent home free access
true come from the rivers
pinned down market completely stopped
all the small hydropower station because the damages tool blockage
did you mail
garbage and end of all and a little refresh
country did it
who can make a lot
compare that's to be
the twenty percent renewable energy we have to realize by two thousand and
really you should be considered see that this is not the way
one thing is certain
the supplier worldwide energy faces big challenges everywhere one is searching
for cleaning unsafe source of energy
and if you have a hydropower is often celebrated as a miracle solution
without disadvantages
the problems they cause however a hushed up by the energy providers and suppliers
because you produce for hydropower
to be submitted to scrutiny
doesn't want to use it for that miss layout very carefully the advances and
and not only for themselves
after all
groups who does belong to all of us
and hopefully
many generations to come
exploding she'll get it
for stealing our money hatfield and head of the author and they are today from
the other detained for politicians
is in china's slated to do something for the fish
and to contribute to the fact that all solid sheldon won't have an idea called
me over the smells certain college looks much life isn't and hopefully from