The Freiberg mining water management system was constructed from the 16th to the 19th centuries and consists of numerous man-made ditches, ponds and underground tunnels. For hundreds of years it was the main lifeline of the Freiberg mining landscape, supplying the mines and processing sites with water-power and dressing water on one hand and draining all mines of water on the other hand. The whole system is still in function today and supplies Freiberg and other towns (e.g. Dresden) with drinking water, and the modern semi conductor and leather industry of the Freiberg region with its process water. It is also still draining the research and teaching mines Reiche Zeche (shaft) and Alte Elisabeth (shaft) of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. This system has a total length exceeding 70 km and represents one of the earliest and most important mining water management systems in Europe, and the world. It is divided today in two parts - the Rothschönberger Adit and the Aktive Revierwasserlaufanstalt Freiberg/RWA (active mining water management system).
Part of the Freiberg water management system, since the 12th/13th century, was also the Mulde River which supplied the Muldenhütten smeltery and the mines of the central, and northern mining districts with water power together with acting as a drainage system for the adits of these mining districts. This drainage function is still in use today.