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Mayor wants to investigate whether hidden streams and creeks can be opened

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Streams and waterways can help cool down the city during heatwaves and create attractive urban spaces. Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Mayor, Line Barfod (EL), hopes for political support for a comprehensive analysis of the possibilities of exposing underground streams and waterways.

Hidden pipes and streams run beneath the surface of Copenhagen, supplying Damhussøen, Utterslev Mose and the Inner Lakes with water. Ladegårdsåen runs underground from Bispeengen to the Inner Lakes, Lygte Å runs from Bispebjerg to Bispeengen, while Grøndals Å runs from Damhussøen to Bispeengen.

Together with Copenhagen’s open waterways, they constitute Copenhagen’s freshwater system.

Mayor Barfod wishes to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the effects of exposing the hidden waterways and lakes on Copenhagen’s water system. She hopes for political support to allocate the necessary funds to conduct a thorough investigation.

-“Climate change is giving us hotter summers, and here, open waterways can help cool the city down. Open waterways also strengthen biodiversity by attracting insects. Therefore, I hope there is political support to explore whether it is possible, so we can take the first step towards a greener city,” she says.

Opening up the closed waterways will also create more green urban spaces.

-“Copenhageners value the city’s green spaces tremendously. It is especially evident when the sun shines, and the parks and lakes are filled with people enjoying themselves. Sometimes, it is so crowded that it can be challenging to find a green spot or an available bench to sit on. There is a lack of green areas in Copenhagen, and if the hidden waterways are opened, it will create more green urban spaces where Copenhageners can spend their time,” she says.

Copenhagen was originally founded by the sea, where there were no significant lakes or rivers to supply the city with freshwater. Therefore, over time, the area’s marshes and lakes were regulated and expanded, and canals were dug to provide the growing city with drinking water and water for the city’s fortification.

In the late 1800s, groundwater gradually replaced surface water as the source of drinking water, and the significance of the lakes as a source of drinking water decreased over time.

Previously, open canals and streambeds posed a health risk in many of the world’s cities, but as waste and sewage management has improved in many cities, waterways, streams, and lakes have become healthier.

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