The 22 elements of
Augsburg's water management system


Hochablass (Lech weir)

Since the late Middle Ages, the Hochablass has served to mark the beginning of Augsburg's use of hydropower. The water for most of the city's canals is diverted at this weir. Apart from a few renovated technical parts, today's system dates from 1911/12.

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Lech canals

Since the Middle Ages the canals have supplied process water and energy. They were mentioned for the first time in 1276. They were indispensable for supplying water to the many craftsmen´s businesses, which powered their machines with water wheels, and later for factories and for generating electricity.

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Galgenablass (culvert)

The Galgenablass is the most important water crossing in the city forest. This culvert separates spring water and water from the Lech river (= drinking and process water). This Augsburg achievement is still on display here today.

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Waterworks at Rotes Tor

The ensemble of the three water towers was of primary importance for Augsburg´s water supply. The waterworks already pumped drinking water into the city in the 15th century. The pumping systems were continually improved over centuries and were admired throughout Europe as technical masterpieces.

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Lower Waterworks

The Lower waterworks, dating from the early 16th century, is the second largest and second oldest waterworks in Augsburg. It consists of the Lower water tower, the Pump house and a water crossing where the inner city moat now crosses the Stadtbach canal.

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Waterworks at Vogeltor

The third waterworks was built in 1538 on the city wall next to the Vogeltor. Its main purpose was to supply drinking water to the Lech district. In the 1700´s a fortified tower was repurposed into a water tower, making the works larger and more efficient.

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Augustus Fountain

The three monumental fountains with bronze figures are the artistic highlight of the water system. The first was created by Hubert Gerhard in 1594, with the city's founder Augustus standing in the middle as the emperor of peace. The four river gods symbolize Augsburg's main bodies of water: Lech, Wertach and Singold as well as the Brunnenbach, which was artificially created for drinking water.

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Mercury Fountain

The fountain was designed around 1599 by Adriaen de Vries, a sculptor of European renown. The bronze group on the fountain pillar shows Mercury and at his feet Cupid, who is taking off the sandals of the god of trade. This symbolises the desire and certainty that Mercury will remain in Augsburg and keep trade flourishing and thus the city prospering.

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Hercules Fountain

The Hercules fountain was completed in 1602. The bronze casts were designed by Adriaen de Vries. Together with the Mercury fountain, it is one of the largest works ever created by the artist. The hero Hercules fights against the Hydra, a multiheaded water creature. The fountain pillar is decorated with Naiads, tritons and geese.

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The building was constructed in 1609 by Elias Holl and served as the trade guild hall for the butchers. What made it unique was the innovative use of process water: The Western Lech (canal) was routed through the town's meat market to cool the meat and dispose of the waste.

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Waterworks at Hochablass

In 1879 the new waterworks heralded the age of modern water supply in Augsburg. Groundwater replaced spring water and for the first time pressure tanks superseded the old water towers. This established new hygienic and technical standards for supplying a city with drinking water.

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Power plant at the Stadtbach

The first power stations in Augsburg powered factory machinery directly in transmission operation. Since 1875, the power station at Stadtbach had supplied the cotton mill, then the largest spinning mill in the German Empire.

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Power plant at the Fabrikkanal

The power plant was put into operation in 1885 by the Göggingen doubling mill and yarn factory. The Fabrikkanal fed by the Wertach river was created specifically for this purpose. In 1907 new turbines were installed; the plant is still in operation today.

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Power plant at the Singold

The small power plant has been in continuous operation since 1887. It was originally built to drive the transmissions of the Göggingen doubling mill and yarn factory, but later, like the other two earlier power plants, generated electricity for the factory.

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Power plant at the Wolfzahnau

This power plant is an impressive structure which straddles a canal shortly before the confluence of the Lech and Wertach rivers. In 1900 it was the first station to be built to generate electricity for the cotton mill, in other words, no longer to drive the factory machines directly. Its huge flywheel had been showcased previously at the Paris World Exposition.

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Power plant Gersthofen

The first of three hydroelectric power stations on the newly constructed Lech canal – a palatial building with baroque forms – went into operation in 1901. It was no longer just connected to a factory but marked the beginning of comprehensive electricity supply in Bavarian Swabia.

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Power plant at the Senkelbach

The power plant built in 1904 is situated at the oldest canal of the Wertach, and initially supplied a machine factory. Later it was used for general power supply. It is still working today with a modern turbine. The set of machines used in 1923 has been preserved and is periodically in operation.

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Power plant Langweid

This second power station on the Lech canal was built in a similarly elaborate design as the plant in Gersthofen. It has been producing electricity since 1907, initially for a factory, then for the general supply. Today, it is home to the Lechmuseum Bayern, which features the river as well as impressive technical installations.

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Power plant at the Wertachkanal

This power plant was built on what was then the new Wertach canal. It was completed in 1921. The canal’s function was to reduce the risk of flooding and to generate energy. The original purpose of the power plant with its two turbines which are still in use today was to generate electricity for the Augsburg tram system.

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Power plant at the Proviantbach

The power station, which went into operation in 1923, initially belonged to the cotton mill, as did those at the Stadtbach and at the Wolfzahnau. The first power station had already been located here in 1858. The turbine and generator from the early 1920s can still be found in the new building, built in the austere style of the industrial architecture of the time.

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Power plant Meitingen

This power plant is the third one on the Lech canal and the furthest away from Augsburg. Initially it supplied industry and subsequently generated power for the entire region. This power plant has the entire original technical equipment from 1922 preserved and still in operation.

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Canoe Course (Eiskanal)

For the 1972 Olympic Games, the historic ice canal was tranformed into the world's first artificial white-water canoe course. Thus, modern sport is also part of the centuries-long continuity of Augsburg's water system. The course is still used today for international competitions.

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