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Watering can heroes Dresden project for sustainable irrigation of trees found fertile ground

Arborists from the State Palaces and Gardens stand on a lifting platform in the Volkspark Großer Garten and take samples from a copper beech / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
Arborists from the State Palaces and Gardens stand on a lifting platform in the Volkspark Großer Garten and take samples from a copper beech / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

The campaign has already received more than 60 requests from interested parties to care for trees under heat stress and use rainwater.

The Gießkannenhelden Dresden project is falling on fertile ground. Since the campaign began in April, the organizers have already received more than 60 inquiries from interested parties who want to set up a water reservoir to supply trees under heat stress. "The high demand shows the interest in the sustainable use of water and rainwater in particular. The people of Dresden want to do something to preserve their environment," said Louise Hummel-Schröter, spokesperson for the initiative, on Wednesday when asked.

Three water reservoirs have currently been installed and filled, including on the grounds of the Technical University and at the Kreuzgymnasium. More than half of the requests come from schools and daycare centers. Unfortunately, not all of them can be filled immediately. This year, however, the aim is to set up 30 to 40 bins.

"Despite the already high demand, we would be delighted to receive more suggestions from private individuals or communities with suitable public spaces. We would also like to explicitly call on companies", the statement continued.

The aim is to make the project sustainable and to organize a better supply of vital water for the trees in the long term. "In general, the trees in Dresden are doing better this year. You can see that in the more vital treetops. However, we need to be prepared, because extreme weather events are on the increase and the appropriate structures for preparation cannot be installed overnight."

For the watering can heroes of Dresden, "filling stations" for trees are to be set up in many places in the city. The containers with a capacity of 1000 liters store rainwater, which the population can use to water street trees in the surrounding area and thus save them from drying out. The project is being run by Stadtentwässerung Dresden, the "Dresden gießt" initiative and the environmental center of the Saxon state capital.

"With climate change, urban greenery is becoming increasingly important for good living and working in an urban environment. Trees provide shade, cool the environment, improve air quality, bind CO2 and make it pleasant to spend time in the city," the organizers had advertised for participation. The climate crisis is also increasingly becoming a deadly threat to trees.

"Heat and drought make them susceptible to pests and diseases and cause them to wither. In order to thrive under these critical conditions, more and more trees need regular irrigation." However, campaigns are often faced with the same problem of where to get the water.

The reservoirs are provided free of charge for the watering can heroes. The campaign is aimed at residents, businesses, housing cooperatives, daycare centers and schools. Dresden has been inspired by a project from the Ruhr region, where four municipalities are already taking part.

In Dresden, at least 100 containers are to be installed over the next two years, which will be connected to the downpipes of houses. The city's drainage department estimates that each container will cost between 800 and 1000 euros. In addition to the material costs of 500 euros, there are also the logistics costs, the company said.

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