Die Maschinenhalle im Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg

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 Groundwater replaced spring water and for the first time pressure tanks superseded the old water towers.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.

Building history and description
  • historic waterworks at Hochablass, today a hydroelectric power station (320,000 people in the supply area) and the engineering museum
  • built over the Neubach between Siebentischwald or Stadtwald and Lech
  • Augsburg, district Spickel-Herrenbach; Am Eiskanal 50 and Spickelstraße 31
  • direct spatial proximity to the high drain and ice canal
  • Erection 1878-1879
  • Steam engine and boiler house from 1885
  • Connecting construction 1935
  • Decommissioning 1973
  • Architect Karl Albert Gollwitzer
  • castle-like waterworks
  • ground-floor plastered brick building with western two-tower facade and portico
  • in the style of Late Classicism or Neo-Renaissance
  • elaborate design (terrazzo floor, stencil painting, decorative border, ornaments in the engine room, ornamental grille at the main entrance)
  • Basement with five vaults, four of them over the Neubach
Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Druckwindkessel ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Pressure wind boiler
Maschinenraum im Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Machine hall
Use and purpose
  • from 1879 (at that time the first time) supply of the entire urban population with hygienically safe drinking water from groundwater of the city forest
  • Replacement of the old water tower system (for example at the Red Gate)
  • Replacement of wooden water pipes throughout the city with cast-iron pipes
  • groundbreaking, groundbreaking research Max von Pettenkofers
  • Machine equipment supplied by Maschinenfabrik Augsburg:
    • Three pump systems from 1879, each with two double-acting, horizontal plunger pumps
    • three forward draft boilers (volume 3 ½m3)
    • four main pressure wind boilers from 1897 (10m high, 1.75m diameter, riveted steel plates, total storage volume of 90 m3, replace water tower)
    • Suction basins and supply lines from 1879 and 1895
    • two generators (about 1910)
    • one Francis turbine (1910, today outdoor exhibit)
  • Spring water was drawn from the sources in the city forest with two (in an emergency three) double piston pumps, then passed into the two cast iron basins under the engine house and pressed from there into the drinking water system
  • Pressure wind boilers served as buffer storage
  • Historic drinking waterworks at the High drain as a monument to the expansion of modern, hygienic public drinking water supply in the 19th century
  • at that time initial supply of the entire city area or of all households (including upper floors)
    • Max von Pettenkofer's research of 1854 necessitated the early implementation of recent findings on drinking water hygiene and, subsequently, the rounding off and long-term safeguarding of the natural foundations of water wealth
    • Pettenkofer's research was carried out in parallel with the further development of water use from small-scale to industrial scale and from a simple waterwheel to a highly effective turbine
    • Red thread from Pettenkofer research and the subsequent construction of the drinking water plant at the high drainage to the current, sustainable protection of the water catchment area by deconstruction of settlements and control of agriculture and natural regeneration of the rivers
  • Successor of the waterworks at the Red Gate, the Lower waterworks and the waterworks at the Vogeltor
  • direct proximity to the high drain and the canoe racing course at the ice canal
Authenticity and unique features
  • Architectural monument and technical equipment from 1879 quickly completely preserved, partly functional
  • Restoration 1993-1994, replacing turbines with new designs for power generation
  • 2005 installation of three Kaplan turbines (not visible under the building),
  • ongoing maintenance and use by Stadtwerke Augsburg
  • A combination of prestigious architecture, outstanding engineering skills and innovative hydrotechnology
  • First waterworks to replace water towers with pressure vessels, setting new technical standards and new quality and quantity standards worldwide
  • current status as engineering museum and drinking water information center