Machine hall at Waterworks at Hochablass ©Martin Augsburg/Stadt Augsburg
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Waterworks at Hochablass

Modern drinking water supply in Augsburg was introduced in the year 1879 with the waterworks at Hochablass. It was one of the rare waterworks using water power for pumping and pressure vessels, setting new standards.

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
Eingangstür zum Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Entrance to Waterworks at Hochablass
Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Druckwindkessel ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Pressure wind boiler
Wasserwerk am Hochablass ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
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

Information and location

General Information:

Waterworks at Hochablass is owned by Stadtwerke Augsburg GmbH.

Opening hours:

From May to October every first Sunday of the month from 12 to 17 o'clock

Contact:

Stadtwerke Augsburg Holding GmbH
Hoher Weg 1
86152 Augsburg

+49(0)821 6500-8601
wassergmbh@sw-augsburg.de

Guided Tours:

Every first Sunday of the month at 15 o'clock

Directions:

With public transportation: Take the bus line 29 towards Hochzoll Süd and get out at the stop Kuhsee (Cow Lake). From there continue via Hochablass (element nr. 2) on the opposite side of the Lech going north on Spickelstraße.

With a car: Take Friedberger Straße/B300 going out of the city. Before crossing the Afrabrücke (Afra bridge) turn right on the street “Am Eiskanal”. Parking is available at the Bundesleistungszentrum  (National Training Center for Canoe Slalom and Whitewater Sports).

Location:

The waterworks at Hochablass are located in the district of Spickel – Herrenbach, between the Lech River and the city forest.

Map: