The irrigation project in Franconia, which aims to pump water from the River Main into the drought-stricken steep slopes of Iphofen, is in danger of failing. The million-euro project, subsidised by the Free State of Bavaria, could make the work of winegrowers much easier. Until now, they have been travelling to the rows with canisters and irrigating the vines, which are increasingly suffering from drought due to climate change.
However, Klaus Sanzenbacher, a Green councillor from Kitzingen, is now opposing the pilot project that has been planned for over twelve years. The Main water is to be channelled through kilometres of pipelines - over areas belonging to the town of Kitzingen. However, the town council does not want to make public land available for this. According to Sanzenbacher, the construction of the pipeline is not in the public interest. "This is a pipeline for a few winegrowers in Iphofen, nothing else," says the Green councillor. In addition, the ecological consequences for the River Main have not been sufficiently analysed and possible alternatives have not been considered. If the town council agrees with Klaus Sanzenbacher's position and refuses to use the path, the Iphofen winegrowers would have to ask all private landowners and come to an agreement on its use.
Andrea Wirsching from the Iphofen winegrowers' association is fully in favour of the pilot project, which is intended to irrigate around 300 hectares in Iphofen. "It's often overstated and presented very dramatically. But the water we take from the Main is flood water," she emphasises. For Wirsching, the pipeline is a kind of win-win project: irrigation in the vineyard - flood protection in the valley. "The surplus water currently flows unused into the North Sea," says Wirsching.
But not all winegrowers from Iphofen support the project. Organic winegrower Nico Olinger is convinced that quality can be achieved without artificial irrigation. He does not irrigate his vines. "I can see that it works - the wine tastes good to me and my customers," says Olinger.
The Kitzingen city council will now decide on 14 December whether the pilot project will be implemented despite the funding commitment from the Free State of Bavaria and all the studies carried out by an engineering firm.
(ru / BR)