Excursion to the Saxon Dam Authority and Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Authors: Ahimbisibwe Alfred (Uganda) and Clement G Tweh (Liberia)

“Water is Life”

You wake up in the morning some minutes late and you decide to rush through your preparation to be in time for the office. You rush to the bathroom, open the tap and lo… there is no water flowing. Your mind switches to panic mode. Can you go to the office without taking a bath? Or even without brushing your teeth?

This is a disastrous situation that the Saxon Dams Authority strives to avert by ensuring that there is always sufficient supply of high quality drinking water available to households and industry at any time all year round. Participants in the 41st Postgraduate Course of Environment Management for Developing and Emerging countries held an excursion to the Saxon Dams Authority’s drinking water reservoirs in Neunzenhain on 3rd and 4th May 2018 to learn about drinking water supply.

Two staff members of the Saxon Dam’s Authority and Dr. Lothar Paul of the Ecological Station Neunzenhain conducted the excursion. The Saxon Dams Authority manages fresh water resources in the Free State of Saxony of which dams make up 20%, the rest being rivers. They are in charge of 153 reservoirs, 23 of which are for drinking water and the rest for flood control. They also supply drinking water to 40% of Saxony’s population with storage capacity of 100 million m3 of water.

Participants were informed that the Saxon dams Authority supplies drinking water to six regional contractors who distribute water in the various cities in the state. In order to balance demand and supply, some dams are interconnected through tunnel systems or open channels and that the water quality has significantly improved due to strict requirements for purification of flue gas from coal power stations and industries that were previously responsible for acid rain.

Talsperre Neunzenhain II

Neunzenhain dams were constructed to provide drinking water for the city of Chemnitz, which was growing rapidly due to industrialization in the 19th Century. The first dam was built between 1891 and 1893 while Neunzenhain II was built between 1911 and 1914 using natural stones from the region. It is gravity dam whose weight of stones holds back the water. To avoid siltation in this dam, two pre-dams built upstream reduce the sediment load of incoming water. Secondly, 25 km² of the dam’s catchment area is forested giving it the best quality of water. The rivers flowing these forests also carry little sediments. However, every 10 years the Dams Authority does a general de-silting operation to maintain the capacity of the dam.

The Neunzenhain II dam was extensively repaired between 1996 and 2000 making it more robust with more monitoring devices to ensure its life is extended. During these works, a new concrete was built behind the stone wall and a monitoring tunnel also constructed. Important parameters monitored include

  1. Pressure: Due to high pressure in the water column, water tends to escape below the wall. To mitigate this, ground water below the dam wall is sucked out and drained away.
  2. Dam displacement: Due to alternating seasons, there is dam displacement especially in summer due to temperature difference on both sides of the dam. A maximum displacement measured is 8mm.

Water can be drawn from five different layers in the reservoir and such thermo-stratification allows for continuous supply of clear water even if silted water enters the dam by drawing water from lower layers, which actually remain clear.

Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Participants visited the Ecological Research Station in Neunzehain which was established in 1959 focus on research on drinking water reservoirs. This was after a realization that activities in the surrounding areas of the dams affect the quality of water. It was founded as a hydro-biological field station and they have collected a lot of ecological data on reservoirs.

Dr. Lothar Paul and Ms. Henrike Beesk presented research that is going on at the station on Cyano bacteria in the drinking water reservoirs and other micro organism such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. Cyanobacteria produce toxins which can cause sickness and death in severe circumstances. The team also presented ecological interventions used to maintain the quality of water such as bio-manipulation and sanitization of the catchment. Bio-manipulation involves stocking of predator fishes in the reservoirs such as pike and trout to hunt the smaller fishes thus favouring growth of zooplankton which in turn reduce the phytoplankton that degrade water quality.

Emerging Issues

  1. Per capita water demand in Saxony has reduced from 200 m3 to 85 m3 and this is attributed to increased efficiency in use and change in industry to less water intensive industry
  2. To increase forest resilience, broad leaf tree species have been introduced to the previous coniferous monoculture and this diversity improves forest productivity and resilience.
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Excursion to Control Center of Public Transport in Dresden

(By Sandar Myint, Myanmar)

On 24th April of 2018, we visited the Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe AG (DVB) (Dresdner Transport Services). The EM41 participants guided by Ms. Angela Francke from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic, went together to the DVB Control Center of Public Transport.

After arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Winfried Oelmann. Before the lectures and discussions, the EM41 participants asked him curiously what they want to know and what they want to include as a part on DVB Public Transport such as air ventilation inside the Tram, and an E-ticket system. He answered all questions thoroughly and started his presentation about the institutional organization and strength of DVB. In General Figures of his presentation, there are seven types of vehicles which are “Low Floor Trams, Older Tatra Trams, Diesel Buses, Hybrid Buses, Battery Buses, Ferry Boats and Freight Tram”. About 160 million of passengers travelled in the year and DVB was one of Dresden’s key employers with 1,851 employees and 97 trainees.

The main responsibility of DVB is to operate the local public transportation in Dresden, the capital of Saxony and also responsible for planning, marketing, driving, traffic and product planning, communication, investing, sales, maintaining and training. Every year DVB had already surveyed the satisfactory status on DVB services and transportation types. According to 2017 DVB survey, it accounts for over 47 % of very satisfied status, 33.5% of satisfied status, 0.4% of unsatisfied status and others on DVB services and also 12% -on foot, 27% – bikes, 39% -cars and  22% -public transport on transportation types.

The ticket price in Dresden is low on behalf of the environment, people, and the livable cities. Furthermore there are several discounts; children under 14 years and handicapped people ride for free; 75% are to pay by pupils and apprentices, 80% discounts for students and also 50% of the monthly ticket prices and 75% of 4-trip tickets to pay by poor people.

The ticket revenues cannot cover the costs of public transportation in Dresden/Germany and DVB has an annual gap of Euro 40 million. In this case, ENSO and DREWAG, which are responsible for energy, network, supply of power, gas, water, grid operator got always profits and filled the gap of DVB as a consolidation of companies in the case of public transportation funding of Germany. Also Mr. Oelmann compared the pros and cons between the use of private cars and public transports in rush hours with regard to facts of carbon emission, costs and time.

After that, another lecture is given by Mr. Andre′ Schiller, who is an IT coordinator to perform both technical and administrative tasks to ensure functionality and efficiency of computer and telecom systems in DVB, on the topics of Information and control system of DVB. We knew that the operator systems need the online different units which are not as easy as using smart phones. Every night DVB transformed the scheduled data to passengers via online systems to know the real time for all routes.

After that, we moved to the main control room for Information Center of DVB in which there are 22 employees who were working with the assigned tasks. According to the explanation by Mr. Schiller and Ms. Francke, we knew that one was mainly responsible for social media and the other ones were responsible to control the computer and telecom systems of all DVB transport operations with 3 shifts in 24 hours. The operating trams in the tram lines could be seen by the specified colors such as yellow and green within the computer systems. To operate the tram lines, it needs much energy.

After that, we went outside from DVB Center and moved to place for the tram stops in order to know the structures and tasks of the trams next to the DVB building. Tram routes were arranged by the respective tram lines in that place. In this case, Mr. Schiller explained well the structures of trams and the tasks which operated daily. On the body of the tram, there was the trade mark which describes the produced year and the company to know where the tram was build up. Also, the structures of the tram include the special features for the handicapped people.

In this interesting excursion to Control Center of Public Transportation in Dresden, we had fun with this excursion and then we came back to CIPSEM Center. I would like to thank CIPSEM Teams and all facilitators for their warm reception and supports and for every schedules and arrangements of knowledgeable lectures and interesting excursions on behalf of our [EM41] participants.

Bicycle excursion in Dresden

by Khusniddin Alikulov

On April 5th, 2018 the CIPSEM EM41 course fellows took part in a bicycle excursion in Dresden under the guidance of Angela Francke and Fabian Heidegger, both from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic. All fellows gathered on the back side of the CIPSEM building for choosing suitable bikes and helmets. Initial announcement by the guiding staff was about riding rules in Germany such as designated special paths for bikes, right side riding on the roads in Germany, road cross section rules, etc. Subsequently Angela Francke introduced the excursion route to all fellows, which included pit and long stops in seven points of Dresden’s Altstadt (e.g. Grosser Garten, Elbe River shore site, historical places of Dresden etc.). In my opinion, the main purpose of the tour was to educate fellows in good riding of bikes in Germany and to introduce the beautiful streets and landscape of Dresden. Moreover, all fellows enjoyed riding bikes for healthy life style. Now all fellows can rent the bikes of CIPSEM and enjoy upcoming beautiful days in Dresden.


We were also informed by Angela about the important role of Dresden’s bicycle roads for connecting the German bike road system. The most beautiful site in our route was Elbe river shore with its fresh air, attractive landscape and comfortable bike road path. Based on provided information by Angela on speed analysis, our bike excursion team had 9.3 km/h average speed and 26.3 km/h maximum speed. On the way of our route, we could also know about the interesting place in Dresden, which counts number of bicycle passes on the designated road line for statistical data collection. It was obvious that many people prefer to use bicycles for contributing to protection of environment. So it was a good example for us to experience German approach on using green transportation. I am very surprised that people in Dresden are aware of climate change and willing to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emission. I think I will also start to share the CIPSEM bicycle excursion approach in my home country and neighborhood. Thanks a lot to the CIPSEM team for organizing this enjoyable bicycle excursion and teaching us in important transportation movement rules in Germany.

13th February – 360° Panorama Fascination in Dresden

written by Melano Sirbiladze

On February 13th, 21 CIPSEM participants visited the 3600 panorama museum with German teacher Dr. Breuls. This day is a historic day for German people and especially for Dresden citizens. On 13th February 1945 British and United States Army Air forces dropped more than 3900 tons of bombs on the city. Dresden’s city center was severely destroyed.

The museum is very impressive and the atmosphere with emotional music takes you back in time. The amazing 3600 panoramic view, so-called “Dresden 1945” was created by the very famous artist – Yadegar Asisi. The artist dedicated his work to “people thinking about creativity and abysses of human nature, about grim logic and insanity of war in the world” (Yadegar Asisi).

 

In the museum, we “met” people from the past, people who experienced adversity during world war second. For example, we “met” Arno Wend, who was the youngest member of the Dresden City Parliament and unfortunately, was forced to go to Hohnstein concentration camp because of the Nazis. We also saw Jenny Schaffer’s profile. Jenny was an active member of Dresden Semper Opera House. She was Jewish and because of her origin, Henny Schaffer along with her husband was deported to extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered.

We also listened to the stories of the people who experienced bombing during 13-15 February. Ordinary Dresden citizens talked about the unbelievable days they had in 1945. And one might think that these people have only sad, tragic memories but surprisingly in every person’s talk, you will find hope to rebuilt and renew the city.

Overall, for me and I think for every CIPSEM participant, 13th February was full of history, emotions, people, tragedy, and hope. And how surprising it may sound, I still managed to find the beauty in these tragic stories. The Dresden Beauty is that love continues even after death and the impact of that trauma brought people closer together due to the love they shared for the city. In other words, Dresden citizens had carried and still carry the amazing feeling of hope and the feeling to start over. So, as our guide told us, we saw not only the tragedy of Dresden, but people’s strong faith for a better future.

IT ALL CAME BACK TO ME…

By Kebaabetswe Keoagile

It started with the long flights and landing in Montreal reminded me of the time in January, 2017 when arriving in Dresden for the Centre for Postgraduate Studies on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging countries (CIPSEM). Of course the excitement will always be there but coming in winter time was a different story. The cold, the snow all brought back the memories in Dresden and made me think of the “onion principle” as Joyce Kiruri from Kenya will put it.

The twenty first meeting of the Subsidiary body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 21) and the Tenth meeting of the Ad-hoc open ended working group on article 8j and related provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from the 11thto the 16th December, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. The meetings provided the basis for negotiations for the 2018 Conference of Parties.

SBSTTA provides the Conference of the Parties(CoP) with timely advice relating to the implementation of the convention. It comprises government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise and are mandated to provide assessments of the status of biodiversity (BD), provide assessments of the types of measures taken and responding to the questions that the CoP may put before them.

Items covered during the meeting were:

On the other hand, working group on article 8j is also open to all parties and, indigenous and local communities’ representatives which play a full and active role of its work. Issues of Traditional Knowledge are considered as cross cutting that is said to affect many aspects of BD. The working group has raised the profile of indigenous peoples and local communities’ issues and developed guidelines and tools on TK.

Items covered during the meeting were:

For more information and outcomes of the meetings please visit www.cbd.int

All aimed at implementation of the Convention strategic plan…

Giving a statement on behalf of my country in support of the Africa position on agenda item, “Sustainable wildlife management: Guidance for achieving a more sustainable bushmeat sector” and saying, ‘Thank you madam chair…’ brought back the CIPSEM 40 memories especially the exercises we did at the Island of Vilm on CBD negotiations. Thanks to the facilitators I was able to use the knowledge to prepare for these meetings and impart it to the other stakeholders (delegates) from my country.

Another highlight was the reunion with Marle Patricia Aguilar Ponce from Honduras. It was a moment of craziness and happiness just seeing each other after the course. We met over lunch to catch up!

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71st UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services getting of the starting blocks

The end of the summer break marks also the beginning of a new CIPSEM course year and we are happy to welcome the participants of the 71st UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management. We are looking forward to spend the next weeks with our guests from Ethiopia, Nepal, Bolivia, Rwanda, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Ghana, China, Peru, Madagascar, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Colombia.

(Photos: T.Karp)

Farewell EM40!

“Time just flew by” was the statement included in the speeches given by the representatives of the 40th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries (EM40) at today’s award ceremony. And really, also for us, it seems like yesterday that we met the EM40 participants from Honduras, Vietnam, Colombia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Kenya, Niger, Peru, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Sudan, Brazil, Ethiopia, Jamaica, and India at the airport. But even though, the one or other tear creates the impression of time having passed by maybe too fast and the moving speeches let us realize the sadness of goodbyes, they are also an impressive demonstration of how naturally people from different countries, with different religious backgrounds, and from different cultures can become friends or even more, become like a family and how a city which may have been entered with mixed feelings at first, can become a second home in the end.
Congratulations EM40 for all your professional and personal achievements during the last six months. We wish you luck, endurance, and success for your professional careers and for your efforts for a more sustainable future!

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Photo: Harald Schluttig