Water supply and sanitation in Berlin

May 07, 2020

In 1852 a contract between the state government of Prussia and the English company Fox and Frampton was made to supply the city of Berlin with drinking water. The first waterworks of the Berlin Waterworks Company goes into operation at the Stralauer Tor four years later.

In the middle of 1870s The Berlin Waterworks Company is purchased by the city of Berlin. Formation of a municipal construction commission for Berlin's sewers, headed by James Hobrecht. Then Charlottenburger Wasserwerke AG was founded, which supplied Berlin's southern suburbs. Formal handover of the drainage facilities built thus far to an operations director. In 1937 the city assumes full ownership of Berliner Städtische Wasserwerke. After WW II Berliner Städtische Wasserwerke merged with Charlottenburger Wasser- und Industriewerke AG to form Berliner Wasserwerke, fully owned by the municipal government. 

When in 1949 Berlin was divided and the water supply and municipal drainage facilities are split in half. The development of water supply systems of two parts went by two different ways. In Eastern part VEB Wasserversorgung und Abwasserbehandlung Berlin was opened. In 1967 the public utility Berliner Stadtentwässerung is changed to a municipal company owned by the Berlin city government and renamed Berliner Entwässerungswerke in West Berlin.

In 1988 Berliner Wasserwerke and Berliner Entwässerungswerke merged to form Berliner Wasser-Betriebe in West Berlin. Two years later Wasserversorgung und Abwasserbehandlung Berlin is converted to a municipal company and then Berliner Wasser-Betriebe and Wasserversorgung und Abwasserbehandlung Berlin merged to form today's Berliner Wasserbetriebe.
In 1994 Berliner Wasserbetriebe becomes a municipal company. In the same year Berliner Wasserbetriebe became the General Partner of first ECWATECH. Five years later a partial privatisation took place. The city government of Berlin now holds 50.1 % of the shares, RWE and Veolia together hold 49.9 % of the shares in Berliner Wasserbetriebe.

Successful referendum in 2011 disclosed the partial privatisation contracts triggers the re-municipalisation process and in 2013 City of Berlin buys back shares from RWE and Veolia. Berliner Wasserbetriebe is completely back in the municipal family.

Source - Berliner Wasserbetriebe