The Pumps That Must Run Forever, Or Part Of Germany Floods

Tom Scott

2,2 milj. näkymät121

    The Ruhr Valley, in north-west Germany, is an industrial coal-mining area. And because of that kilometre-deep mining, parts of it have sunk, the drainage patterns have changed: and now, if the pumps of Emschergenossenschaft ever stop, quite a few towns and cities will end up flooded.
    Filmed safely in September 2020:
    -- and of course, my interview with the team from Emschergenossenschaft
    Edited by Michelle Martin mrsmmartin
    Thanks to Bela Lempp and Daniel Fischer for the suggestion.
    (Alternate title: "Iffen Pumperschtoppen, Der Deutschehabitaten Unterwasser". Alternate video: )
    I'm at
    on Twitter at tomscott
    on Facebook at tomscott
    and on Instagram as tomscottgo

    Julkaistu 5 kuukautta sitten


    1. Tom Scott

      This was, of course, filmed back when some inter-European travel was possible, following all the Covid-safe guidelines. (Standing on top of a windswept hill helps with that.)

      1. Mr Steve

        Well thanks for clarifying that. I'm sure most peoples biggest worry was that you travelled somewhere "unauthorised" and were walking around like you owned the place without a mask, and without permission to breathe from the supreme leaders. "Covid safe guidelines", pathetic.

      2. Karasu Inaiga

        Video: 3 months ago. Comment: 4 months ago. What. Did. You. Do?

      3. LEXI der CH 123 Yo

        I love the german accent of enclisg

      4. Richard Wicks

        If they were smarter, they'd build an aqueduct. That would drastically reduce energy expenditures and wouldn't require the pumps to be running continuously.

      5. Camino John

        You said Anthracite in your video but this is incorrect. It would be Bituminous, which has a lower energy density. I did a Google search and confirmed this fact. In addition, I'm keen on the subject because German ships in WWI had to burn a combination of Bituminous and Lignite when the ideal fuel was Anthracite. Since the UK and the US were the only producers, Imperial Germany had to use poorer fuel sources.

    2. kpeleent

      i live a few kilometers away from your filming spot and even i didnt know they pumped so much water everyday. nice to know! :D

    3. itryen

      I live there! :)

    4. Vidmantas Matias Šimkus

      tis definetly not flow

    5. D Reads

      I'm curious what happens to all the the stuff living in the river that end up going through the pumps.

    6. Ali Guled

      One of the huge mistakes the so called civilised people did in the name commerce

    7. jimmies rustled

      43,000 litres per second... That's hard to imagine.

      1. saschamaj

        It is. It's equivalent to the volume of water in a swimming pool 10m long, 2.15 m wide, and 2 m deep.

    8. oof oof

      Hippity Hoppety, this comment section has become german property

    9. Christopher Hurkens

      Wouldn't it be cheaper, especially after a few decades, to lift the river, with levees and fill, than build pumping stations and power and staff them?

    10. serjthereturn

      fossil fuels continuing to mess up the earth in so many creative ways

    11. iannickCZ

      Hopefully the pumping station will not have blackout. But nothing stay forever. They are walking on tiny ice.

    12. Timur Burlaka

      The German engineer's English is really good but his accent is almost caricatural of the Germans! Zis is actually how ze vorld imagines ze Germans to speak :D

    13. Rheiner Zufall

      so we dry out the lakes we have on this planet, while we stop new ones from forming^^ good for the people who live there, but would it be better for the planet to get a new lake?

    14. zebble ganubi

      humans eh. the most intelligent species on the planet apparently

    15. Tristan

      Me a german: Wait I know this place.. I once visited it ! I was at the same place from that youtube video !!!

    16. The Raven

      Grüße ausm pott.


      1:54 what does this guy do? Emsterschemster... What?

    18. Arnold Black

      Germany destroyed their own landscape while polluting everyone's air

    19. Joseph Abraham

      I can't think of one example in America where a company paid for the ecology like that. The Exxon Corporation paid for the Exxon Valdez oil spill until December 2009. But that's not quite an apples to apples comparison. If the coal companies go out of business, who keeps writing the checks?

    20. Joshua Saxby

      They could think about putting all the spoil back :)

    21. WA Kayak Angler

      Hey mate, have you heard of the Golden Pipeline in Western Australia? I bet you have but it would be an interesting story to tell the world :)

    22. Mr. Rogers

      Seriously how does this guy come up with all this obscure s*** that's really interesting?

    23. Inexorablehorror

      Wow, many thanks for this very interesting information! I live in Lower Saxony, about 150km away from the Ruhr area and have been there numerous times, but I didn't know this fact. Amazing! Thank you, keep it up and stay healthy.

    24. Apollo Mars

      Germans: So did yor coal companies pay for this stuff? UKs: .......Brexit. Germans: :3

    25. Michael Heider

      Sounds as smart as moving to new Orleans. Lets build a new house where there should water. People

    26. Oto

      Switching to renewables, not.

    27. Michael_st.a

      I was born in 1967 in the "Ruhrgebiet" area.

    28. mickinoz2005

      Why not fill the land back in instead of building big pointless hills. Solves both problems surely

    29. Stan Washighski

      Seems like it would have made more sense to build a canal. Maybe it's just the cannabis doing the thinking.

    30. JP T

      Nice example that we always should consider the consequences when they last for thousands of years.

    31. Adam b

      Ferb I think we know what we're gonna do today

    32. ghotio1927

      I felt sea sick from the constant spinning of the camera !!!! I feel some basic cinematography is required please .

    33. Paul Thorwesten

      I can’t wait, to attend my thick-german-accent class. It’s mandatory for all german engineering students, since 2003.

    34. Glitch

      Why not just build a canal that goes over the dip

    35. SuperSupermario24

      I feel like "it used to be a mining region" explains a very large percentage of the really weird regional environmental issues we face today.

    36. Crazy wyvern

      Anthracite is extremely rare and majority of the anthracite is found in the United States I believe

    37. Riley Carpenter


    38. Jared Ramos

      This similar to the movie Snowpiercer. If the the train stops humanity dies.

    39. Bronze Army

      If they stopped mining... with what profits are the companies paying for it? This would only mean that the entire valley is dependent on coal companies remaining profitable.

    40. Simon Dowsett

      Relying on that pumping-station for perpetuity is a recipe for disaster.

    41. GD Nerd

      Hi Tom!!👋

    42. J Navarro

      let it become a lake. make it a tourist attraction

      1. The Mighty Almaty Squirrel

        @J Navarro Yes, but if it becomes a lake, the people currently living in the valley would all have to move.

      2. J Navarro

        @The Mighty Almaty Squirrel could use more tourist

      3. The Mighty Almaty Squirrel

        You know 5 million people live there, right?

    43. David Adams

      Wen you out for bike ride and end up in vid with 2m views

    44. SickShepherd

      surely just building a canal or aqueduct would be a better solution

    45. Nigel Benn

      "The coal mine company pays for this, it was their coal they moved so it's their problem" Wow it's been so long since I've heard logic like that in my country it feels and sounds refreshing like a sea breeze.

    46. LeonG

      The coal is absent now, so without importing fill to the area, it should all be lower. The old underground mines are taking longer to fully collapse, because they were tunnel or bord and pillar mines and they continue collapsing for centuries. Random sites form caves that reach the top.. Instead of the rock strata just dropping as one, some vertical caves form in the rock, due to the rock in that column being crushed or soft (like volcanic vent might contain volcanic materials like ash or soft rocks. ) So the old workings can cause subsidence at the surface. Newer ones are long wall, which collapse in a few months and more smoothly drop the whole area at the same time. (so that crushed rock has no time to wash out.) So one reason they don't just do something more permanent is that its still sinking... the pumps and pipes can be moved to where they are needed.

    47. rocksteph84

      When you tell Germans zat zeir houses are zinking, they ask you, what are zey zinking about.

    48. Steven Peralta

      It seems eventually the coal company(ies?) will cease to exist and the burden of funding eternal pumping falls on the government. I wonder if at some point relocating the towns and villages out of the low lands become the cost-effective solution. Food for thought.

    49. Kevin Goeckel

      turn em off.

      1. The Mighty Almaty Squirrel

        And kill 5 million people?

    50. Danny Kean

      river BOIe

    51. Jupp Soetebier

      I think I speak for everyone here in that the most shocking aspect of all this is the matter of fact way Germans simply take care of things. That of course the coal companies caused it and of course they will pay for it. Not even a question.

    52. ruinsofanebula

      what about the fish in the smaller river?

    53. Nikola Tasev

      Germany coal companies: "We stopped digging coal, but will keep pumping the water forever" Appalachia coal companies: "We don't do this here".

    54. Ryad Arlan

      How ironic. Thats why there is climate change deniers. Because what oil company wants to clean the atmosphere.

    55. PyroYergen

      Everybodys in amazement, businesses paying for their impact on the world. Germany you embarrass much of the world with this.

    56. GeweerBeer

      *Laughs in Dutch*

    57. Marco Krause

      There will be the time when the pumps have used more electricity than they have produced with the coal mined.

    58. entertainTech

      Best part is the coal companies have to pay for the damage they created.

    59. Jahoyhoy

      So the great-great grandkids are left to pay for the damages caused by their ancestors? Sounds about right.

    60. ExDee Wobblum

      Galaxy-brain idea here: Cover the hills in solar and wind generation to power the pumps…

    61. Angelo Semeraro

      Coal is not a thing of the past, in Germany. They may have stopped extracting Anthracite but they are burning even the disgusting Lignite, to keep the lights on

    62. Der Gebeater

      Its not Ruhr-Valley. Its called RUHRPOTT!!!!

    63. Ronny Nord

      yes we now have nuclear power instead of coal.

    64. sreekutty sree

      The adventurous almanac thermodynamically comb because deposit embryologically fade via a superb stepdaughter. skillful, glib cowbell

    65. Ben Mullen

      The Rhur Juror!

    66. Regulus Muphrid

      Alternative title: How to flood a part of the Fourth Reich with a single air strike.

    67. DIM Tips

      Excellent video as always.

    68. Min All

      The needy grandmother naturally reduce because algebra superfamily program in a special mosque. rich, regular ronald

    69. Radu Cristescu

      How about moving some of that dirt down and lift the river up to the required level? I guess running the pumps for 10000 years seems better, as the yearly cost is so much lower than what it would take to raise the riverbed.

    70. TheSenator007

      And then there's the Netherlands, where people deliberately created low-lying land that had to be drained forever in order to make it liveable.

    71. Hawks

      See what coal mining leads to.. Oposite hydropower!

    72. FromAndToUnknown

      It's amazing you visited Germany some times already and FIblock tells me so late about this Would be great to idk see you making the videos next time you make a video about something in Germany again, after the Pandemic of course

    73. Fishe

      There are a lot of mine dumps in my country too, but they're delapidated and only really used by criminals here.

    74. Vlad Pankov

      why not just fill the land that sunk with all that extra dirt?

    75. Kristjan Tiido

      I have been on one of those mountains. On a different one though.

    76. L Sedge

      Ruhr actually means mountain, so it is actually the Mountain Valley, this does not refer to the large spoil tips either side, but that the valley was originally a significant mountain before the land sunk and became a valley.

    77. Artur Boras

      are there any cracks in buildings ?

    78. Nick MaGrick

      the problem will go away if you replace the landmass... or maybe just not build homes in the places that always flood. Idk, just spitballin here

    79. Geoff Geoff


    80. ya boi

      the statistic of 40,000 LITERS PER SECOND blew my away. my jaw is on the floor right now.

    81. Wesley Mays

      The title alone made me like

    82. Milo Banks

      It's official. Germany is better than the U.S. The coal companies there actually sort of clean up after themselves.

    83. Jason Burbank

      I would think they could pump the tailings back down into the mines to raise the landscape, using a process akin grout jacking or fracking.

    84. Tricknologyinc

      MOVE! Name the NEW LAKE! AND MOVE!

      1. The Mighty Almaty Squirrel

        That would be a mass move of 5 million people.

    85. David B.

      Hey... That's where my girlfriend comes from. Realy nice place

    86. Andrei Arama

      Why not put the earth back?

    87. SammyGames_YT

      What if they fill up the river pit with dirt or close the connection with dam 🤔

    88. Bernadette Jesionek

      gee, my family still lives in one small town, that would be swamped and I didn't even knew this. that's kinda scary.

    89. Raw Evil Gaming

      This means those Coal Mining companies were never profitable... if they have to run these in perpetuity.

      1. Cyberspine

        150 years of industrialization and massive wealth for a nation of 80 million people vs running a pump. Of course it was worth it, otherwise the coal mining companies wouldn't be able to take on that liability.

    90. Stephan Lustig

      We Germans are great at pumping stuff to higher grounds.

    91. Blue Sun

      that pump techinican made me want to watch ilmango

    92. Lu Gan

      Dutch watching like nothing unusual

    93. 令和哲欣 Akirakin

      Very wrong, you just need to moblize 100k people to redesign the water ways it will take at most 3 months but I guess you guys don't have kids and no future

    94. 令和哲欣 Akirakin

      In my city the government dug an artificial lake to store the water after the mines were depleted

    95. Suphy

      No freaking way. That's the Halde Haniel in Bottrop. Holy Crap i live like 10 minutes by feet from the mountain entrance away and i can actually see my house

    96. Swaggerlot

      Presumably pumping the water with sludge back into the mines will not (in foreseeable time) restore land levels.

    97. Ionic

      grotesk they have to spend the energy they got out of the earth to pump water up again

    98. Hardcore_Cheese

      Family friends of ours live in this area and their house is directly next to a railway. They told me, when they bought the house some decades ago, the railway was on the same level as the entrance of the house. Now due to the ground sinking it is on eye-level when you are up at the third floor.

    99. drditup

      The pumps must go ooooon!!!

    100. Bennet Clausenius

      I like the vid, Tom!