On the Watershed

Watershed at Tirschenreuth, Germany

The light drawing series “Drawing the line” by Regina Hügli visualizes the course of the main continental waterdivide in various European landscapes. This makes visible a borderline that is normally invisible.

The watershed is a hydrological boundary between catchment areas of river systems, but it also marks a cultural boundary zone between cultural areas that have developed along river courses. Language areas, national and regional borders meet at the watershed.

Watershed at Maly Snieznik,
Watershed at Maly Snieznik between Czech Republic and Poland.

This overlapping of cultural spaces and river basins developed historically – the river courses served as connecting arteries of a specific growing civilization structure. Today, however, the boundary situation of cultural spaces can still be felt along the watershed, even though communication routes have changed.

The phenomenon of the watershed makes clear how we are connected and shaped by water, but also separated.

Watershed at Passo Septimo, Switzerland
Watershed at the Passo Septimo, Switzerland, between the Italian and German language areas.

Central to our Sharing Water project is the need for us to communicate across disciplinary boundaries, communities of interest, and national affiliations to care for this vital and dynamic resource. Intact habitats for all life forms and living space for the water itself are the most important parameters for good water quality. It seems fitting to us to grant basic rights to the rivers themselves for this purpose, which must be respected across borders.

Triple watershed at Pass Lunghin, Lightdrawing by Regina Hügli
Triple watershed at Pass Lunghin, between Danube, Po and Rhine

Image captions:

Header: Watershed at Tirschenreuth, Germany, between Bayern (Danube) and Czech Republic (Elbe/Labe).

Watershed at Malý Sněžník, between Czech Republic (Danube) and Poland (Odra).

Watershed at Passo Septimo, Switzerland, between the Italian (Po) and German (Rhine) language area.

Triple watershed at Pass Lunghin, Switzerland, between Rhaeto-Romanic (Danube), Italian (Po) and German (Rhine) language areas.