Tesla Giga Gruenheide May Require Water Consumption Cap for Private Users in the Region

Elon Musk laughed about water concerns in Gruenheide but the water association there may have to impose a limit due to Tesla's factory 6 photos
Photo: ZDF Frontal 21
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Everyone who opposed Tesla’s factory in Grünheide was unanimous about the water shortage risk in the region. When asked about that, Elon Musk joked that there was enough for everyone. A recent report shows how wrong he was: WSE (Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner, or Water Association Strausberg-Erkner) may soon have to limit water consumption in the region.
According to RBB, WSE would impose a cap of 105 liters per person per day for new buildings with new water connections. Currently, the water consumption in the region is 175 liters per person every day, way above the German daily average of 126 liters per person. That would happen because Berlin residents go to the region on weekends to water their country houses’ gardens. RBB wrote that, by 2025, every citizen in the area would have to respect the same limit of 105 liters.

GMX decided to check the story and talked to Sandra Ponesky, the spokeswoman for WSE. She denied that a limit will be imposed right now and said the only measure taken so far is a restriction on the amount Tesla can use: 1.4 million cubic meters (a little less than 308 million gallons) per year. Other major water consumers may also face limits very soon.

Despite that, Ponesky said it might be necessary to impose a water consumption cap for private users as well. The water association is following the situation closely to prevent shortages as much as possible. And it may be sooner than later because the region has reached its limit.

Before the Tesla factory there, LfU (Landesamt für Umwelt, or the State Office for the Environment) wanted groundwater pumping to be limited to 2.5 million liters (549.9 million gallons) per year. However, that would have made it impossible to construct the plant. That said, the WSE was authorized to pump 3.8 million liters (835.9 million gallons) per year. With a consumption of 1.4 million liters, Giga Grünheide alone would be responsible for using 36.8% of that water.

To make matters worse, Tesla spilled 15,000 liters of electrocoating treatment bath on April 11. LfU was quick to dismiss that as a risk to the groundwater or sewage systems. Environmentalists accused the Brandenburg government of overseeing the risks.

Manuela Hoyer, founder of the Bürgerinitiative Grünheide (Citizens' initiative Grünheide), told GMX that the factory is an environmental disaster. She opposed it not only for the risk she said it represents for groundwater reserves in the region but also because Tesla had to cut around 170 hectares of forest to build Giga Grünheide.

If WSE really has to impose a limit on daily water use for residents in the area, it will be interesting to see how Musk will react if anyone gets the chance to ask him again about shortages in the region. It would be ludicrous if he called the concerns ridiculous once again.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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