The regions east of Kiel are most affected. “It has been too dry here since December, and there has been too little precipitation since April,” explains climate researcher Andreas Marx, head of the Central German Climate Office at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). In his view, it is to be expected that “in agriculture, correspondingly below-average yields will be achieved.” The soil is particularly dry at the moment district of Ostholstein in the Lübecker Bay. And also in Like, Rendsburg-Eckernfoerde, Neumünster, Plans, Segeberg and Pinnenberg the plants are under drought stress: they get too little water and stop growing.
Flensburg prohibits water withdrawals
InFlensburgthe city has now banned taking water from streams and lakes to water flowers in its own garden. The city’s water authority will do so in the future, they say. “If an additional withdrawal were made, the waters would dry out even more than they already are. That means all the animals and plants that live in and on the water would have even more adverse conditions,” says Clemens Teschendorf, spokesman for the city of Flensburg. Anyone who is caught is threatened with a “heavy fine”. The city has not said how much this will be.
Drought comes unusually early
It was already unusually warm in the country in 2022. Heat records followed in July and there was 15 percent less rain than last year. Farmers complained about crop failures, there was drought damage in forests and low water levels in lakes and rivers. “It is unusual that the drought comes so early this year,” says Martin Schmidt, spokesman for the State Office for the Environment.
Similar developments can now be observed worldwide. Since 1992, lakes around the world have been losing water. show that Data from satellite observations and climate data, which researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder evaluated. The reasons for this are evaporation from heat, changes in water use and less precipitation, the authors write in a study in the journal Science.
Shipping in Schleswig-Holstein not affected
Falling water levels could also slow down shipping in the country this year. However, there are still no signs of this on the Kiel Canal. According to the Water and Shipping Office, the canal water level is normal. Because there is no rain, “significantly less drainage is currently required,” according to a spokesman.
The Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of the Environment emphasizes that it sees water protection in Schleswig-Holstein as “a special obligation both now and in the future”. For example, water protection advice is offered to farmers and water and soil associations. And the ministry wants to identify scarce water resources in the country. From 2024, the water requirements and groundwater quantities in the state are to be analyzed, the ministry explains at the request of NDR Schleswig-Holstein.
droughts are getting worse
Dry periods are also to be expected in the coming years. With climate change, “both summer low water situations and agricultural droughts are getting worse,” summarizes the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research.