Tesla expansion will mean drinking water shortage, Brandenburg association warns

Tesla expansion will mean drinking water shortage, Brandenburg association warns

Tesla’s plan to double production at the Gigafactory in Brandenburg will threaten the supply of local drinking water, a regional water association has warned.

Tesla expansion near Berlin will reduce groundwater

Water associations in Brandenburg have warned that Tesla’s plan to expand its so-called Gigafactory in Grünheide will lead to a reduction in groundwater and a shortage of drinking water in the region.

Elon Musk recently announced plans to double the number of cars produced at the factory to one million per year. Last year around 40.000 electric cars were produced at the plant near Berlin.

The development would mean building on another 963.000 square metres of land which, according to the Strausberg-Erkner water association, will impact the formation of groundwater and availability of drinking water. “This fact must be taken into account in the planning,” a spokesperson from the association said.

The environmental impact of Musk’s factory has been the target of much criticism since its inception, largely because part of the plant lies in a water protection area. Apart from such concerns, working conditions at the plant have also come under fire since it opened in 2022, with employees reporting an overburdened shift system and having to regularly work overtime on the weekends. Employees have also said that the factory is far too cold during the winter and far too hot during the summer to work comfortably.

Tesla rejects Brandenburg water association's concerns

In response to the water shortage concerns, the international company has said that rainfall in the area will be filtered at the site and contribute to groundwater levels. 

Rather than causing a shortage, Tesla is claiming that the development will have to opposite outcome, “Groundwater recharge will be enhanced as a result,” a spokesperson said, adding that the project and expansion would not increase the demand for fresh water in the region. If the project goes ahead it will require a workforce of around 22.500, just over double the number of employees who currently work at the plant.

The Strausberg-Erkner water association has said it is writing a response to Tesla’s statement.

Thumb image credit: Markus Mainka /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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