It is no secret that I am absolutely obsessed with Finding Teiche here in the Oberharz. They are beautiful and they also carry a lot of History within them. I really love it to learn more and more about the Oberharzer Wasserregal.
Along the Way, I then also stumbled across more and more of the Oberharzer Gräben and Wasserläufe. While those are definitely more hidden than the Teiche, they are still an integral Part of the whole System.
The Oberharzer Wasserregal is a sprawling, living Beast of Water distribution. And while it was built a really long Time ago, most of it still Works just fine. Of Course there is some Amount of Maintenance involved, but still.
If the Teiche were all the Organs of that Beast, the Gräben would be its Arteries. Teiche are very good at storing Water, but without Gräben there would be no Way to actually transport it across the Harz in sufficient Quantities.
Another Task of the Grabensystem was to collect Surface Water from Mountainsides when it rained, and when all the Snow would melt away.
Water was extremely valuable to the Mining Industry back then, yet it was also its worst Enemy.
Water down in the Mines was dangerous. People could drown, Stollen could collapse, and it is generally difficult mine out Ores under Water.
To get that Water out from down below, even more Water was needed to Power the Pumps and Things like that. The deeper the Water, the more Energy was needed to lift it up far enough.
There were some Stollen that were leading Water out of the Harz further down, but Mining Operations tended to reach lower than those. The most significant of those was the Ernst-August-Stollen. It was also the deepest.
Combined with all Kinds of other Water Management Installations, like Widerwaagen and Hubhäuser, the Gräben and Teiche of the Oberharzer Wasserregal opened up the Harz for economical Development back in the Day.
The Oberharzer Wasserregal has long lost that significance, but it still Works and it still gets used to generate Electricity and, in some Cases, Drinking Water. And all those Miners built everything without Excavators, GPS or such modern Things. That is really fascinating.
All those Gräben also open up the Area for Hikers, as there are Paths running along pretty much every single one of those. I absolutely love it.