It seems the city of Berlin is getting that sinking feeling. Groundwater throughout the city of Berlin is on the rise and is flooding homes, government building, and monuments alike. Even the Bundesrat (the upper house of parliament) is pumping water out of its basement.
The rise of groundwater in Berlin today is part of a longer story about the relationship the city and its residents have with the water they use. After the first World War, the groundwater in Berlin fell as factories, breweries, tanneries, and people moved into the city and industry grew. During the second World War, industry nearly stopped, and the groundwater began to rise again. In the 1950’s, another economic boom along with artificially low water prices caused the groundwater to once again fall.
Why is it rising again? Modern industry in Berlin is no longer water intensive, and German’s care deeply for conservation. But in this case, that means more water than they need.
Check out the Economist’s coverage of Berlin’s groundwater here.