The Ruhr, with an average flow of 80.5 m3/s at its mouth, is a comparatively small tributary to the Rhine River that has to perform an important task: to secure the water supply of more than 5 million people and of the industry in the densely populated region north of the river. The complex water management system and network applied by the Ruhrverband in the natural Ruhr River Basin has been developed step by step, over decades since 1913. And from the beginning, its major goal has been to achieve optimal conditions for the people living in the region. For this purpose, a functional water supply and wastewater disposal infrastructure has been built up. The development of these structures required and still requires multi-dimensional planning and performance.
Since the river serves as receiving water and at the same time as a source of drinking water, the above-standard efforts of Ruhrverband for cleaner water also help to conserve nature and wildlife. Ruhrverband has summed up its environmental awareness in the slogan: “For the people and for the environment”. This basic water philosophy, successfully applied to the Ruhr for more than 80 years, will be continued in accordance with the new European Water Framework Directive, enacted in 2000, which demands integrated water resources management in natural river basins, by including the good ecological status of surface waterbodies as an additional goal.