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Valuable Asset: Why We Should Appreciate the Drinking Water Quality in Munich

Schützenswertes Gut: Warum wir die Trinkwasserqualität in München schätzen sollten

Drinking water is a precious resource that is fundamental to our health. The source areas of Munich's drinking water are located in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps and are rigorously protected. This ensures that the natural product, water, in Munich maintains a consistently high quality. But first, let's explore: Where exactly does Munich's drinking water come from? And how does it make its way from its sources to the taps of Munich residents?

The Sources of Munich's Drinking Water

Munich sources its drinking water from various locations. The two main extraction areas are the Mangfall Valley and the Loisach Valley, situated directly in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps. During peak demand times, the Munich Municipal Utilities also utilize the Munich Gravel Plain as a reserve. Approximately 1.6 million people and the corresponding economy are supplied with drinking water by the Munich Municipal Utilities. But what about the quality of the water?

Quality Standards for Drinking Water in Munich

Drinking water is a vital resource, and its quality has a significant impact on our health. In Germany, the quality of drinking water is subject to strict requirements to ensure the protection of human health. The Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV) sets the limits for certain substances in the water to ensure its safety for human use. The sources of Munich's drinking water are regularly examined for their quality. Additionally, Munich's drinking water undergoes a meticulous water treatment process.

The Process of Water Treatment in Munich

Although Munich's drinking water is a natural product, it undergoes a careful treatment process before reaching households in Munich. The process involves multiple stages such as filtration, flocculation, and disinfection. Various chemical substances are used to remove pollutants from the water. The Munich water supply pays close attention to adhering to all requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV) as well as other legal regulations and recommendations from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). High water quality is essential not only for human health but also for various everyday uses.

What's in Munich's Tap Water?

Munich's drinking water has a water hardness ranging between 14.0 and 18.8 degrees German hardness (dH). With an average value of 15.6 degrees dH, it falls into the "hard" hardness category according to the Detergent Act. This means that the water has an elevated content of calcium and magnesium ions, leading to quicker lime deposits in pipes and household appliances. However, hard water is not harmful to health. On the contrary, a high mineral content in water is advantageous for humans. Calcium and magnesium are crucial for tooth and bone structure, contribute to the smooth functioning of many metabolic processes, and regulate the excitability of muscles and nerves. Calcium is also indispensable for normal blood clotting. More information about water hardness and the components of Munich's tap water can be found on the website of the Munich Municipal Utilities.

And How Does Treated Water Reach Households?

Whether on the heights of Giesing or in the Isar Valley, Munich water should always come out of the tap at three to seven bars of pressure. Nine large and seven small pressure control stations, along with 27,000 hydrants and 31,000 valves, regulate the pressure and ensure supply throughout the city. A technical challenge lies in the different elevations of Munich's neighbourhoods. Therefore, they are assigned to three pressure zones: high, medium, and low. The high zone receives water from the Forstenrieder Park and Kreuzpullach reservoirs, the low zone from the Deisenhofen reservoir. The medium zone is fed from the high zone and supplies water to the low zone. In this way, the Municipal Utilities feed an overall 3,400-kilometer-long pipeline network, which is continuously expanded, modernized, and maintained.

Munich's Drinking Water – A Valuable Asset

To ensure that Munich's drinking water consistently meets the requirements and quality standards of the Drinking Water Basic Ordinance, the city has implemented comprehensive measures. The Municipal Utilities preserve the quality of Munich's drinking water in the extraction areas of Mangfall Valley, Loisachtal, and Munich Gravel Plain. In collaboration with local communities, the Munich Municipal Utilities protect spring and groundwater through various measures, such as ecological farming, sustainable forestry, and various initiatives and partnerships. This ensures that Munich's drinking water remains a high-quality natural product in the future.

 

Picture by ian kelsall on Unsplash

Sources:

https://www.swm.de/wasser/trinkwassergewinnung
https://www.swm.de/dam/doc/wasser/trinkwasser-analysewerte.pdf
https://www.swm.de/wasser/trinkwasserschutz

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