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Brackwede Water Park becomes a visitor magnet

A high diving board right out of the jungle, sandy, Caribbean-like beaches, tube slides: that’s naturally fun for all the family. And this open-air swimming pool really is ‘natural’, too. None of the visitors to this unusual open-air baths will ever suffer from chlorine-reddened eyes. With the Brackwede Water Park, the operator, Bielefelder Bäder und Freizeit GmbH, supported by the Friends of the Brackwede Water Park, has shown that water can be kept clean and hygienic without using chemicals. Which also makes it ideal for small children and allergy sufferers.
So how was the changeover from a conventional pool to this exemplary water park achieved? And how has this benefited the City of Bielefeld and local citizens?

In 2003, a renovation programme was started. Step by step, all eight of Bielefeld’s open-air pools were to be modernised. Discussion quickly turned to the idea of finally building a pool capable of harmonising ecological and economical aspects.

Back to the roots – but with trailblazing ecotechnology and some attractive extras

Many remembered that the baths opened in 1925 in Bielefeld-Brackwede were still operated as a natural open-air swimming pool until the 1950s. The pool was fed and watered by the Ems-Lutter brook, whose spring was located nearby. The idea of once again utilising fresh spring water for a new natural water park quickly gained acceptance. EKO-PLANT duly received the commission to plan, implement and maintain the natural water park.

Construction started in 2008, and the park opened in May of the following year – right on time for the 2009 bathing season. But you’d be wrong to think Brackwede is low-tech. The new park has an ultra-modern system that uses intelligent, energy-saving methods to hygienically filter and clean the water from Ems-Lutter. The spring water is first treated with a sand and gravel filter. The heart of the sophisticated, biological-physical treatment system is the 1,000 m2 Geomatrix®. Each Geomatrix® consists of a combination of natural, high-performance filter media. The filter is also planted with rushes, sedge and our own cultivated reed plants.

A flow system planned individually for the specific natural water park is also installed. The flow rate varies to accommodate visitor numbers. The plant’s entire control system is automated. Plant data are queried remotely. As with all EKO-PLANT natural water parks, the water treatment system itself is located outside the actual bathing area, to avoid disturbing park visitors.

The result is an aesthetically pleasing water park, whose charm has quickly spread by word of mouth. Since the opening of the new water park, visitor numbers have nearly tripled! Key reasons for this include the complete absence of chemical agents, the noticeably improved, natural clarity of the water, and the natural surroundings that include many family-friendly extras such as the big tube slide and the sandy beach stretching down to the waterline. Brackwede Water Park also hosts many events every year, such as the Children’s Fete, the concert series ‘Classics Go Picnicking’ with the Bielefeld Philharmonic Orchestra or the baptismal church service organised by the Quelle-Brock parish.

Although no-one thought it possible at the outset, it’s true: costs have been cut and revenue has been significantly improved while also increasing the park’s overall attractiveness.