Between the Waters

Location: Essen, Germany
Design: OOZE & Marjetica Potrc
Year: 2010

Between the waters is at the same time a garden for the local community and a water treatment plant. The project is part of the revitalization of the Ruhrgebiet, situated at an island nearby Essen. The garden stretches from the Rhine-Herne canal to the Emscher River, the largest open sewage of West-Europe. The garden collects not only water from both the Emscher River and the Rhine-Herne canal, but also local waste and rainwater. This process of cleaning is made visible for visitors. The linear path through the garden ends on an elevated platform above the Emscher River Dike. There, visitors can see the highly polluted and fenced-off Emscher River. Due to the sinking of landscape as result of mining activities the river flows above the nearby towns.
The main elements of the water supply and treatment installation are two toilets located above the Emscher River, a pump that draws water from the river into a septic tank, a constructed wetland (a helophyte filter), a rainwater-harvesting roof, water storage bags (pillow tanks), and a fountain located above the Rhine-Herne Canal that offers visitors water of drinkable quality.

The project reveals the importance of the involvement of local community with sustainable practices. Without this involvement, water conservation and local food production would not work. Through the years it will demonstrate natures ability to restore itself.

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