Formed by an extensive system of man-made ditches, leats and ponds, the Aktive Revierwasserlaufanstalt/RWA water management system drove the water-powered machines in the mines, dressing works and smelting works in the Freiberg district from the 16th century. Constructed between 1844 and 1882, the Rothschönberger Stolln drainage gallery stretched around 50 km including its auxiliary systems and was the end point for the mining water management system in the region.
Both systems are amongst the largest and most important examples of their kind in Europe.
Important Locations and Sites
The Rothschönberg adit, excavated between 1844 and 1877, is the deepest and most important drainage adit in the Freiberg ore fields. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was one of the longest subterranean constructions in the world at over 50km. Until this day it provides drainage for all mine workings above the adit for the mining areas of Halsbrücke, Großschirma, Freiberg and Brand-Erbisdorf. It has two openings: the main adit opening and the Triebisch leat opening.
Eight air shafts were required for the adits excavated. Of the original eight, only three remain together with their Huthäuser (administration and assembly buildings).
Aktive Revierwasserlaufanstalt Freiberg/RWA Water Management System
The Aktive Revierwasserlaufanstalt (RWA water management system) was created on the orders of the Saxon Elector Augustus I to provide driving water for the Freiberg mines. Construction began in 1558, but it was not to be completed until more than three hundred years later in 1882. The RWA is a 70km-long water management system for mining plant, consisting of a total of eleven ponds as well as several man-made ditches and leats.The water management system is still mostly functional and is still used by the Saxon State Reservoir Administration to provide water for domestic and industrial use in the Freiberg, Dresden and Chemnitz regions and for recreation; it also provides a habitat for numerous protected animal and plant species.