Resource conflicts on and around the Pader

Agriculture & Fishery

Geplante Wasserentnahmestelle für den städtischen Motorsprengwagen an der „Steinernen Brücke“, Lageskizze 1931 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, A 5551, unfol.)

For the prosperity of the city and its surrounding area, not only the quality but also the quantity and accessibility of its watercourses played an economic role. Existential questions of water access arose above all for the industrialising mill business. Because until the 1940s, the technically modernised Pader mills (electrification, turbine operation) remained dependent on the natural water supply of the Pader. Thus, extreme microclimatic events that took place in the hydrological catchment area of the springs on the Paderborn plateau were occasionally reflected in distribution battles between the riparians. A prime example of such a resource conflict is an objection by the „Neuhäuser Mühlenwerke“ in the summer of 1931, which was directed against the construction of a municipal water intake point for the Paderborn „Motorsprengwagen“ (motorised fire truck). As early as June 1931, the city had applied to the responsible district committee in Minden to be allowed to set up an extraction point at the former stone „Inselbrücke“ (island bridge) on Fürstenweg.[1] The spray water carried in the tanker was intended to reduce dust formation on Paderborn’s country roads, which was particularly evident in dry summers on the often still unpaved tracks in the surrounding countryside. The city stated its demand as a maximum of 15 withdrawals of 5 cubic metres each, so that a maximum of 75 cubic metres of river water was to be taken from the Pader „on dry days“. This quantity, however, seemed too high to the Neuhaus mill owners, since the river would be deprived indirectly of operating water for the turbines of their mills. Pointing to weather-related dependencies in his business – „but the hotter the season, the less water is carried by the Pader“ – the Rosenthal company asked the district government to deny the concession applied for by the town. Despite the above objections, the district committee granted the magistrate the desired building and operating licence one year later.[2] The concerns of the concerned millers were to be allayed by expert opinions: According to Professor Stille’s calculations, the Pader carried „at least“ 520,000 cubic metres of water a day from Paderborn to Neuhaus; the withdrawal of 75 cubic metres could therefore not be of any further significance.[3]

Planned water tapping point for the municipal motorised fire truck at the „Steinerne Brücke“, location sketch 1931 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, A 5551, unfol.)
Planned water tapping point for the municipal motorised fire truck at the „Steinerne Brücke“, location sketch 1931 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, A 5551, unfol.)

[1] Cf. corresponding correspondence with authorities, 30 June 1931 – 21 June 1932, StadtA Pb, A 5551, unfol.

[2] Cf. „Verleihungsbescheid“, Minden 21. Jun. 1932, StadtA Pb, A 5551, unfol.

[3] Ibid.

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This is an excerpt from an essay by the historian Prof. Dr. Michael Ströhmer. The original title of the essay is: "Wirtschaftsregion Pader - Eine geschichtswissenschaftliche Skizze (1350-1950)". Should you have further interest in the economic history of the Pader, we recommend downloading the complete essay (PDF file).

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