Water protection area; determination

For the protection of public water extraction (wells, springs), water protection areas are designated and established by the district administrative authority by ordinance.


Water protection areas not only guarantee naturally pure water. They also protect the environment and ultimately serve to protect consumers. Based on the general area-wide groundwater protection, the sensitive areas and areas close to the catchment area of a water extraction are defined as water protection areas for the special protection of drinking water. Within a water protection area, increased requirements must be met for precautionary reasons. In order to minimize the hazards and risks to drinking water, the surface layers must be preserved and, for example, risky installations, uses and actions must be excluded. The essential basis for this is the hydrologically sound determination of the water catchment area.

Water protection areas generally consist of three protection zones:

  • Zone I (catchment area),
  • Zone II (narrower protection zone) and
  • Zone III (wider protection zone), sometimes subdivided into Zone IIIA and Zone IIIB.

The size of the protection zones is determined individually by the local hydrogeological conditions. In Bavaria, special precautions for drinking water protection are taken not only by the water protection areas, but also by water management priority and reservation areas as well as responsible catchment area management by the water supply companies. In this way, water protection areas and the impact on private property areas can be limited to what is absolutely necessary (the "Bavarian way"). The share of the approx. 3,100 designated protected areas so far throughout Bavaria therefore amounts to only about 4.9 % of the state's area.


Responsible for editing:Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz

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