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Protecting the quality of water bodies in German UNESCO biosphere reserves

Since 2008, Danone Waters Germany has cooperated with the German Commission for UNESCO to support water-related projects in German UNESCO biosphere reserves. At present, fifteen projects have been completed successfully. Following the most recent call for proposals in early 2014, three projects in the biosphere reserves of Bliesgau, Spreewald and Southeast Ruegen have been selected by an independent expert jury comprising representatives of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the German National Committee of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP).

During the next two years, implementation of these three projects will be fully funded by Danone Waters Germany – a German subsidiary of a multinational corporation that provides bottled water brands such as Volvic, Evian and Badoit. All three selected projects will improve the quality of wetlands and the water they contain, as well as working to preserve biodiversity and promote education for sustainable development.

With support from Danone Waters Germany, the Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve, which borders France, will restore a floodplain in the European Cultural Park Bliesbruck-Reinheim. They will create new ponds and backwaters and reintroduce grazing animals. A habitat suited for insects, birds and toads will emerge and the floodplain will once more become a safe haven for rare animal and plant species. Educational programmes for school classes will also be offered.

The Spreewald Biosphere Reserve lies close to Berlin. It will receive support to rehabilitate two ponds in the village of Alt Schadow that are on the verge of drying out, and transform them into a precious wetland. The project will be implemented in cooperation with a youth organization, which will be involved in creating tailor-made educational projects around the ponds aimed at children and youth.

The biosphere reserve located in southeast Ruegen, an island in the Baltic Sea, will receive support to restore a bog on Lake Suellitz near the holiday resort Binz. At present, the bog is conserved by a temporary dam. However, this requires constant maintenance and presents an obstacle for frogs, newts, otters and other species. The project will provide an important contribution to the stabilization of vast wetlands in the context of a large-scale project. This specific contribution could not have been financed from public funds. The project is also integrated into environmental education efforts.

Access the publication 'Water - a key element in UNESCO biosphere reserves' that provides a summary of the first ten projects supported by Danone Waters Germany.