Water is the basis of all life. Hamburg lives with water like hardly any other city in Germany. The Alster and Elbe rivers as well as the huge port with its countless basins and small channels shape its face. In the middle of the 19th century, Hamburg was the first European continental city to have a centralized system of drinking water supply and wastewater management to be op -erated and maintained by municipal authorities. Later, Hamburg Waterworks (HWW) and Ham - burg Sewage Works (HSE) became successors of these early authorities, providing excellent water services over many decades.