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16.02.2011 - Ausgabe: 1/2011

The Federal Horticultural Show Koblenz 2011 (BUGA 2011) will be opened punctually on 15 April 2011 – despite the flooding


But because of the expected water levels, work had started in the banks of the Rhine and Moselle rivers on the 8 and 9 January 2011: The Federal Horticultural Show Koblenz 2011 has intensively prepared for the flooding, but was never in any doubt about being able to deal with this challenge.

A sharp increase in temperatures, following weeks of snowfall, resulted in a vast quantity of condensation water which – besides the rain – led to a water level of 7.50 to 8 metres from Sunday (9/1/2011) to Monday (10/1/2011).

For those organising the BUGA horticultural show, the critical marker lies at 6.50 meters. In view of these prognoses, the fire service in Koblenz had instructed, in a series of crisis talks with Bundesgartenschau Koblenz GmbH (Federal Horticultural Show Koblenz 2011) that building sites in the areas of the banks of the Rhine and the Moselle rivers be cleared. The participating building companies had switched off their power supplies and began to remove all moving objects such as diggers, batches of bulk material and building site fences from the building sites at the Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer (Rhine west-bank) and at the Peter-Altmeier-Ufer (Moselle bank). The same had applied to the already-erected exhibition pavilions, which had to be dismantled and taken away. In particular, it concerns three pavilions with the focus of the exhibition being “life with the river” as well as the pavilion of the media partner Südwestrundfunk radio. The beer garden at the German Corner has already been hydraulically jacked up. In addition, the participating partners on site were eager to close open building pits and seal off protruding cables. Fortunately, the relocation of natural stone at Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer could be carried out beforehand - thanks to the winter building site - and the surface could be sealed. There were only sporadic places and areas which were supplied with Vilene and were weighted down by stones so that no mud could get into the subsurface.
The barriers along the entire bank of Weindorf across the German Corner up to the parking area at Peter-Altmeier-Ufer as well as the corresponding slip roads provided a safety aspect as these bank areas are unprotected and dangerous for passers-by because of the debris from the building sites.

As the entrance to the BUGA chairlift bay is submerged when the water level reaches 7.7 metres, provisions were made here, too: The nine gondolas, which normally remain at the Valley Station, were brought to the mountain station. As the transformer station of the cable car had been switched off, this was carried out using an emergency power supply. The cable car is in no way at risk with the predicted water levels.

With a flood water level of 8 metres, the water will reach up to the walls of the flower courtyard, but not penetrate into it. For this area, 1,500 sandbags were ordered to be able to protect the flower courtyards – particularly the paradise garden – from a higher water level. They were laid out on the Saturday morning (8/1/2011). Those working on the BUGA did not have to take any precautionary measures in the Palace Garden. In fact, at water level of 7.1 m and over, the palace stairs will be completely under water. However, as the Palace Garden is a few metres higher, the water may penetrate, at the most, up to the Prussian Infantry Wall.

In daily briefings with the fire service, some important decisions have been reached about how best to prepare for the floods. “It is, of course, annoying that we are getting this flood water,” regrets BUGA Planning Manager Ulrike Kirchner. However, she is sure that all necessary precautionary measures are being taken and the damage caused by the flow of the flood water can quickly be remedied again. It is also of benefit to BUGA Koblenz 2011 that there was the good sense not to plant bulbs in the area of the German Corner, but to wait for the end of the flood water and keep them in cooling tanks. “It may be that the quality of the Federal Horticultural Show could suffer in affected areas,” admits BUGA Managing Director Hanspeter Faas, “however, we cannot gauge the consequences as this largely depends on the actual height and duration of the flood water.”

“We are very grateful for all the help you have given up to now, with the participating companies, the fire services, the technical help, the admin and management of the town of Koblenz and all of the volunteers leading the way. All have already shown an interest in wanting to support us in dealing with the effects of damage, which we are currently planning and will be tackling as soon as possible. The flood water is unpleasant and presents us with challenges. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that we will be opening the Federal Horticultural Show Koblenz 2011 punctually on 15 April at 9am. We are confident that our visitors will be understanding about the fact that, in the areas affected by flood water, some minor signs of damage may be observed,” continued Managing Director Faas.

Photos: BUGA Koblenz

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