Due to the transformation of the landscape during the Ice Age, the Potsdam region contains many bodies of water. The backbone of Potsdam’s water system consists of the river Havel with its so-called Havel lakes and the river Nuthe as its main waterways. All in all, ten percent of Potsdam’s urban area is comprised of water.
The river Havel is controlled by dams and exhibits few changes to wetlands. The spillway in Brandenburg on the Havel ensures that target water levels are maintained. Due to damming and the character of the Havel with its irregular water course and its lake-like extensions, it has low flow rates which in part causes standing water. In comparison to other German rivers, water-level fluctuations on the Havel are very slight.