The lignite phase-out in Germany will make it necessary to backfill or flood the mines in the future. Such flooding is a controversial project, with diverse interests and uncertain feasibility. Where will the water come from?- And where is it missing then? What are the effects of flooding on the environment? What conflicts of interest occur between the population, agriculture, tourism and industry? The researchers of the Ladenburg College “Future Water Conflicts in Germany” (ZuWaKo) asked themselves these questions during a tour of the Inden open-cast lignite mine. This visit took place within the framework of a project meeting at the Research Center Jülich from 26-28 September 2023.
©ZuWaKo: Between 2030 and 2060, a lake is to be created at the site of the Inden open pit mine, which will be used primarily for tourism.
The ZuWaKo project is concerned with problems of water competition and scarcity in Germany that are currently emerging or being exacerbated – partly as a result of climate change. The mining sector, but also river basins in general as well as emerging conflicts in urban and agricultural irrigation are considered. The goal of the project is to better understand the uncertainty, complexity, and conflicts potentially associated with water issues and to address them in a timely manner. The project proposes to bring stakeholders and affected parties to the table today in order to develop conflict mitigating and robust strategies as far as possible. For this purpose, so-called participatory modeling and simulation games are used. In participatory modeling, simplified qualitative models are built that depict future framework developments as well as alternative strategies and measures. In the simulation game, these models are used to explore the consequences of one’s own decisions in interaction with the decisions of others. During the meeting, scenarios up to the year 2050, a prototype of the simulation game as well as a first test model were presented and discussed and the next steps were agreed upon.