Home > Members > ICID Directory >

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Vorlop
German National Committee of ICID (GECID)
Bundesallee 50, D-38116 Braunschweig

Tel : 0531-596-4484
Fax : 0531-596-4199
Email : gecid@ti.bund.de
Website : http://www.ti.bund.de


Mr. Theo Augustin
German National Committee, ICID (GECID)
Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz
Ref. 415, Ländliche Infrastruktur
Rochusstrasse 1
53123 Bonn

Tel : +49(0) 228 99 529 4365, +49(0) 228 99 529 4262
Email : 415@bmelv.bund.de


Dr.-Ing. Eiko Lübbe
Vice President Hon., ICID
Viktoriastraße 3
53173 Bonn

Tel : +49 228 355501
Email : eiko.luebbe@t-online.de


Dr Jano Anter

For address see Sr. No. 1

Email : jano.anter@ti.bund.de

Member - WG-SON-FARM


Dr. (Mrs.) Sabine Seidel
Young Professional
Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology
Dresden University of Technology

Email : sabine.seidel@tu-dresden.de

Young Professional - ERWG


Dr. (Ing.) Klaus Rottcher

Ostfalia Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Campus Suderburg
Herbert-Meyer-Str. 7
29556 Suderburg, c/o vTI Bundesallee 50
D-38116 Braunschweig

Tel : +49 5826 98861230
Mob : 0160-3552139
Email : klaus@roettcher.de, k.roettcher@ostfalia.de



Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Vorlop

For address see Sr. No. 1

Member - ERWG

Links of Interest
ICID Strategy for Implementing Sector Vision - Water for Food and Rural Development and Country Position Papers, 2000

ICID – Irrigation & Drainage in the World – A Global Review

Directory Contents..




The Federal Republic of Germany in Central Europe has its borders with the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark. The total area of Germany is 356,970 km² including 7,940 km² (i.e. 2.2 %) of inland waters. The total agricultural land is 54.1 % or 19,314,000 ha roughly subdivided in; arable land (11,832,000 ha); grassland (5,268,000 ha); vineyards, orchards and nursery plants (210,000 ha); fens, heather; gardens (2,004,000 ha).


The total cultivated agricultural land is 17,310,000 ha (1997). In addition to this, forests occupy 29.4 % or 10,491,000 ha of the German territory without any deforestation tendency. Topographically Germany can be roughly divided into three basic forms: the North, German Plain, the uplands and the Alpine region.


The North German Plain consists of hilly geest and moraine landscapes with many lakes as well as lowlands and glacial meltwater channels (Areas of moorland and heath are especially found in the northwest). The hills of the central uplands separate North Germany from South Germany. The uplands are morphologically subdivided into mountainous regions and valleys, the mountains reach altitudes from 700 to 1,500 m. The Alpine region is subdivided into the South German Alpine Foreland and the Bavarian High Alps in the south with the highest German mountain, the Zugspitze, reaching a height of 2,962 m above msl. More than half of the total area of Germany is hilly or mountainous. These unfavourable natural conditions narrowly limit the way the land is used and the state of farming is practised.


The total population of Germany was 82,061,000 in 1997. Every 100 ha of agriculturally used land has to support about 474 people in the country, compared to approximately 381 in Italy, and about 193 in France. The total population engaged in agriculture fell from 7,040,000 persons in 1950 in Western Germany to 1,026,000 in 1997 in the reunited Germany (1.5 % of the total population).


Climate and Rainfall


The Federal Republic has a temperate and for the most part oceanic climate, which, is generally much more pleasant due to Gulf Stream. Except for peaks, the January temperatures average around freezing point, being slightly higher in the north-west and the upper Rhine valley, and slightly lower in the East and on the southern plateau. The July temperatures average nearly 18°C, with the warmest area in the upper Rhine basin.


The total average annual rainfall is 770 mm with extremes as low as 500 mm and as high as 2000 mm. Considerable snow falls in winter remaining on the ground for only a short time in the west, but sometimes lasting several weeks in the east. The possible frost period lasts from 60 days a year in the West to 170 days in the East and South. In general, the precipitation amount decreases from West to East.


The climatic and rainfall conditions of the country show that the drainage to regulating soil water balance is much more important than irrigation. Irrigation is mainly practised to meet short drought periods during the plant growth and to protect crops and plants from frost damage.


Population and Size of Holdings


The agricultural sector receives only 0.9 % of the national net value added, and although the share is reduced by increasing industrialization, its importance remains as great as ever in the rural areas because of other reasons too.

The total number of as fulltime farms and parttime enterprises has dropped by about 1 million in 1949 to approximately 516,000 farms with more than 1 ha each. In addition there are 27,500 farms below this level. 41 % of all farms are run as fulltime enterprises only. The mean size of these holdings is 41 ha in the former Federal Republic and 127 ha in the new Federal States (&&147;Länder&&148;) respectively.


Between 1945 and 1997 land consolidation measures were accomplished in an area of 7.77 million ha. The number of measures and the affected area will decline in future. Modern farm management makes heavy demands on knowledge and unterstanding and, thus, on the level of education of the farmers. The self-taught farmers are increasingly getting replaced by variety of farming skills.


Water resources


Surface waters


The surface waters in Germany are created by six river systems, i.e. the rivers Rhine, Ems, Weser und Elb draining into the North Sea, the Odra draining into the Baltic Sea and the Danube discharging into the Black Sea. The rivers are interconnected by various canals for navigation. All rivers carry water throughout the year with varying discharges in dependence on precipitation, season and groundwater level.


Natural lakes are mainly found in the North German Plain and in the Alpine Foreland. They cover a total area of 1,213 km². 26 of the natural lakes produce a surface area of 10 km² each. The largest lake is the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Additionally, there are numerous artificial reservoirs in Germany with a total capacity of more than 4 billion m³ of water.

In Germany monitoring of water resources is undertaken to secure existing and possible future drinking water supplies and to protect aquatic ecosystems. Although, both biological and chemical monitoring is undertaken to provide an indication of overall water quality. For the time being the water classification is based mainly on a saprobic (biological) index system. Monitoring for the purpose of national classification is carried out by the Länder at 146 sites throughout Germany.


The long-term objective in Germany is to ensure that all waters attain at least Class II status &&147;moderate pollution&&148;. To a large extent this has been achieved in the western part of the country, however, in the East there are still lots of problems in particular due to the inadequate treatment of sewage, a legacy of the previous regime.




The groundwater has important ecological functions. Its natural quality must be preserved and protected throughout the country. Groundwater pollution must be eliminated. The quality of groundwater resources is also monitored in Germany. There is significant concern in the country about deterioration of groundwater resources, not least because of their importance as a source of drinking water supplies.


The annual volume of water used in Germany (data of 1995) came to 45.2 billion m³, the greatest share of which (approx. 27.8 billion m³) was used as cooling water by thermal power stations. The industrial sector consumed nearly 10 billion m³, while approx. 5.8 billion m³ was used for domestic water supplies. Mainly groundwater and spring water (72.7 %) is used for public water supplies. The agricultural sector uses nearly 1.0 billion m3 per year for irrigation, livestock and greenhouses. Thus a total of 161 billion m³ is available in a year on average.


Germany has succeeded since the 1970s to detach water consumption from general economic development. Between 1970 and 1990 water taken by industry from public supplies decreased by about one third. The water productivity of the economy as a whole has thus increased. This is also true for the per capita consumption of households, small businesses and in the agricultural sector.


Agriculture and Irrigation


The overall task of German agricultural activities today is:

  • sufficient food production at reasonable prices,
  • public supply with excellent food quality for the consumer&&146;s health,
  • but also safeguarding a sustainable and resilient environment (soil, water, air), preservation of cultural landscapes and tradition.

The objective of agricultural irrigation in the humid climate sector, to which Germany belongs, is to compensate individual cases of precipitation deficits during the vegetation period with artificial water supplies in order not only to improve but also to save crop and crop quality. In Germany mainly irrigation is applied to areas of intensive agricultural and horticultural activities with annual precipitation rates of less than 700 mm. It is estimated that about 531,000 hectares of land, (3 % of the agricultural acreage) today are irrigated. The irrigation methods employed are mainly sprinkler systems, for which generally groundwater is extracted. The annual amount of irrigation water used, varies between 80 and 150 mm or between 425 and 800 million m³ per year respectively.


The irrigation may not steadily increase again. Sprinkler or any other water saving systems will mainly be applied to special crops, vegetables and potatoes, as it guarantees high irrigation economy.


Agricultural waste water disposal which also takes place in some areas in Germany is subject to following conditions: (1) acceptance throughout the year, (2) voluntary participation by farmers, (3) possibility of distributing waste water over large areas, (4) soils are in need of irrigation, (5) suitability of crops (fruit, asparagus and vegetables are excluded). Flat ground and permeable soils are especially suited for waste water disposal.


The so-called anti-freeze irrigation works, sprinkler irrigation in addition to ground-heating, have successfully been practised in the Federal Republic of Germany in recent years to protect high value and frost-susceptible crops from frosts.




Most countries regularly implement measures to maintain soil fertility and to increase yield capacity. In humid climates, these measures consists of the removal of excess water through ditches and subsurface drainage (by pipes). The area requiring surface drainage and subsurface drainage was determined according to soil science criteria and amounts to 4.4 million ha in the old Federal States. Experience suggests that more than two-thirds of this area requires drainage (2.6 million ha of the cultivated agricultural area in the old Federal States). About 1.6 million ha of this area is drained by subsurface drainage. In the new Federal States 2.3 million ha are drained and 1.1 million ha from this area is drained by subsurface drainage.


Public subsidies, to support drainage measures, have been stopped in 1989 in the old Federal States, so clear statistics of the total drained area are not available. It is estimated that private drainage measures are implemented on an area of about 5,000 ha per year.




One characteristic of water management in Germany is the clear separation between state institutions with global responsibility for water resources protection and management on the one hand, and on the other hand private or municipal operators carrying out specific functions of relevance to water management. The state administration, as a rule, has no direct interest in water use or the use of water bodies so that in principle conflicts with private interests do not occur. Any significant use of a water body has to be permitted by the competent supervisory authority and no special rights or privileges result from private ownership of watercourses which, in any case, exists only for minor watercourses.

Statistics Relating to Irrigation and Drainage
Area cultivated in 1950 14,126,000 ha
Area cultivated in 1970 13,578,000 ha
Area cultivated in 1978 13,176,000 ha
Old Federal States
Area cultivated in 1997 17,310,000 ha Old and new Federal States
Area irrigated in 1949 220,000 ha
Area irrigated in 1959 250,000 ha
Area irrigated in 1976 253,000 ha
Old Federal States
Area irrigated in 1979 270,000 ha
Area irrigated in 1989 320,000 ha
Area irrigated in 1997 531,000 ha
Old and new Federal States
Capital costs per ha irrigated by sprinkler irrigation, vary from 1.500, &&150; to 10.000, &&150; DM.
Operation and maintenance costs per ha irrigated sprinkler irrigation are about 5, &&150; DM/mm.
Area drained in 1966 2,600,000 ha
Area drained in 1997 4,940,000 ha

Old Federal States
Old and new Federal States


The implementation of environmental policy through direct regulation by prescriptions, prohibitions and limit values has, in water resources protection and management, been combined with economic instruments, both for setting incentives and providing revenue.

The drainage costs are dependant on local conditions and vary as follows:

Measure Costs (DM/ha)

1. Drainage by ditches

800 &&150; 3,000
2. Pipe drainage 1,500 &&150; 8,000
3. Combined drainage (1+2) 3,000 &&150; 6,000
4. Mole drainage 300 &&150; 700


ICID and Germany


Germany joined ICID in 1957 and has been actively associated with ICID activities in Germany as well as at the international level.

25th IEC held in Germany 1974, 6th European Regional Conference held in 1968, 21st European Regional Conference will be held in Germany and Poland in 2005.

Mr. H. Zolsman (1972-1975); Dr. K. Zanker (1979-1982), Dr. W. Dirksen (1996-1999), Dr. Ing. E. Lubbe (2006-2009), Dr. Ing. E. Lubbe (2006-2009) were the Vice Presidents.


Directory Contents


© 2016 | ICID | 48 Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110021, India
Tel : 91-11-26116837, 91-11-26115679; Fax : 91-11-26115962, E-mail: icid@icid.org [ICID Map]

Follow ICID on: | Facebook| YouTube| LinkedIn| SlideShare