Excursion to the Ecological Station Neunzehnhain

By Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda (Kenya)

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Reservoir at the TUD Ecological Station Neunzehnhain

On 15th September 2016, the participants of the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Water Resources Management and Health set out for the ecological station in Neunzehnhain.  Along the way from Dresden to the station, I observed that land is mainly characterized as large farms, and as we approached Neunzehnhain, the area becomes hilly and forests are abundant! When we arrived at the station, we were welcomed with breath taking views of the dam with an amazing forest backdrop (I shared the above picture with my friends back home and two suggested that area looks like a good “honeymoon” location!).
We were lucky to have a chance to get in deep within the dam, 30 meters deep to be precise, where we experienced a cool 6 degrees! Unfortunately for security reasons, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the dam. When we were done with the dam, we headed back to our new “home” to settle and rest… or preferably described as catching up! At the center there is no mobile network coverage and also no wifi, which I think worked okay as it promoted group dynamics and the participants bonded more with each other, discussing various cultural differences majorly on song and dance! The area is tranquil and serene, which is good for relaxing! Dr. Paul welcomed us heartily, such a charming man he is, and an expert too in water! We had a tantalizing meal with fresh fish (my favorite!) among other varieties. We also learned that one of the participants is a talented pianist and he entertained us with one piece before we left for bed. The next morning we had an interactive session on microbiology and we had the chance to actually be hands-on at the lab, which was exciting and very interesting especially to see some of the micro-organisms in the water samples. At about midday, we then set off to the Ore Mountains, at a restaurant where we had lunch facilitated by CIPSEM; and after we proceeded to other dams within the area, guided by Dr. Paul, for another session on water reservoirs before we left for Dresden.

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Ecological research station Neunzehnhain

About 80 km southwest of Dresden the TU is maintaining a small outpost: the ecological research station Neunzehnhain. Located in the middle of the forest nearby the Neunzehnhain dam, the station offers the possibility to facilitate skills and methods in the physical, chemical and biological investigation of water bodies. But first the group had a look at the dam. Completed in 1914, the dam’s primary purpose is the drinking water supply of the nearby located city of Chemnitz. As the quality of the reservoir is excellent, supposedly even the best water quality to be found in Saxony, the citizens of Chemnitz can really consider themselves fortunate. After passing the coping of the dam, the group entered the dam itself and learned about its functionality and about the measurements performed in the dam. The next day started with some microscoping lectures, before the group returned once more to the dam to be taught about different methods for the assessment of water quality.

(Photos: T. Karp)