Germany-wide surveys on the recreational use of inland waters

The AQUATAG research project investigates how rivers and lakes are used for recreation in Germany. On the one hand, we want to find out which forms of recreation are carried out at which bodies of water. For example, what water sports are practiced at which bodies of water? Which waters are preferred for bathing? On the other hand, we want to find out what people expect from the quality of the water bodies. Is the water quality good enough? Are there conflicts with other users?

So far in Germany, the importance of inland waters for recreational and leisure use has only been studied for individual user groups. Anglers are particularly worthy of mention here, but also rowers. In addition, data on recreational use are often only available at the regional level. For this reason, AQUATAG conducts nationwide surveys of the recreational use of inland waters, i.e. rivers and lakes. All forms of recreational use are of interest, be it an evening walk along a lakeshore, a canoe trip on or a bicycle tour along a river, a stay at a bathing lake or a trip on a sailing or motor boat.

What do the surveys look like?

The surveys are conducted online. The advantage with this survey form is that maps can be used relatively easily to gain information about the water body visited. The interviews begin by asking generally about the use of the landscape in Germany for recreation. Then there is an opportunity to mark the body of water they last visited on a map. This makes it possible to also derive information about the landscape visited and the water bodies from geographic information systems (GIS) for later analysis of the surveys. Furthermore, questions are asked about the activities at the water body, the duration of stay, the frequency of visits to this water body in the last 12 months, but also the evaluation of the water body quality and the evaluation of the surroundings.

Sample view from the survey

Who are we interviewing?

On the one hand, a Germany-wide representative survey will be conducted (2019 & 2021). On the other hand, in a 2020 campaign, we would like to attract people to participate who are members of a water sports club. This includes, for example, rowing clubs, canoe clubs, sailboat and motor yacht clubs, or fishing clubs.