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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Austria

Freshwater (Austria)

Why should we care about this issue

Topic
Freshwater Freshwater
more info
Environment Agency Austria
Organisation name
Environment Agency Austria
Reporting country
Austria
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
21 Dec 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Environment Agency Austria
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Austria is a country with an abundant availability  of water, only a small proportion of which is used. The countrys fundamental objective of water management is its protection and sustainable use. EU water legislation, in particular the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Austrian Water Act with its linked ordinances create the legal framework for this.

Due to the substantial investments that have been made in recent decades, the problems caused in surface waters due to pollutants have to a great extent been solved. For surface waters, the challenge for the years ahead is to reduce the impacts of hydromorphological interventions caused by structural flood mitigation and energy generation.

  

The quantitative status of groundwater is good but nitrate pollution presents quality issues in regions with intensive agriculture.

 

 

Links & References

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Figure 2: Ecological status of Austrian lakes >50 ha, including heavily modified and artificial lakes. The percentages refer to the number of lakes > 50 ha) (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)

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Data source
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Figure 2: Ecological status of Austrian lakes >50 ha, including heavily modified and artificial lakes. The percentages refer to the number of lakes > 50 ha) (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 5: Nitrate - Development of the exceedances of the threshold value 1997-2008; Number of groundwater monitoring stations which exceed the threshold value by their annual mean values in proportion to the total number of monitoring stations available in bodies of shallow groundwater per year, (ENVIRONMENT AGENCY 2010, OWN EVALUATIONS)

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Data source
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Figure 5:  Nitrate - Development of the exceedances of the threshold value 1997-2008; Number of groundwater monitoring stations which exceed the threshold value by their annual mean values in proportion to the total number of monitoring stations available in bodies of shallow groundwater per year, (ENVIRONMENT AGENCY 2010, OWN EVALUATIONS)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 3: The quality of Austrian bathing waters 1997-2008 (BMG [Federal Ministry of Health], 2009A)

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Figure 3: The quality of Austrian bathing waters 1997-2008 (BMG [Federal Ministry of Health], 2009A)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 4: Chemical status of bodies of groundwater bodies and trends (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)

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Figure 4: Chemical status of bodies of groundwater bodies and trends (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 1: Ecological status of the natural running waters in Austria, (excluding heavily modified and artificial waters. The percentages refer to the length of the surface water bodies of the natural running waters in Austria with a catchment area greater than> 10 km2 (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)

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Data source
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Figure 1: Ecological status of the natural  running waters in Austria,  (excluding heavily modified and artificial waters. The percentages refer to the length of the surface water bodies of the natural  running waters in Austria with a catchment area greater than> 10 km2 (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)
Fullscreen image Original link

Surface water

Austria has a part in three international river basins: 96% of the country drains into the Danube, 3% into the Rhine and 1% into the Elbe.

The Austrian network of 7,335 surface water bodies with a catchment area >10 km2 is about 31,000 km in length of running waters (BMLFUW, 2010 Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management).

 

Natural surface water bodies without modified or artificial waters account for 88% of the network. Sixteen percent of these have a high ecological status, 23% have a good one, 51% have a moderate, 8% a poor and 2% a bad ecological status (Figure 1).

 

Around 12% of this network has been heavily modified or consists of artificial waters (e.g. such areas where water is retained for energy production). Of these, at present 87% do not have a good potential, since in particular measures for improving hydromorphological conditions are still possible.

 

 

Each of the 62 lakes >50 ha has been identified as a separate surface water body. The total surface area is 1,034 km. Altogether, 61% of these have good ecological status or good ecological potential, and 34% even have a high ecological status (Figure  2).

 

Hydromorphological pressures on running waters 

Due to impairments of river morphology or the hydrological conditions, about two thirds of running waters do not achieve good status. Examples for this include power plants, weirs and river bottom sills, regulation (including channelising and straightening) and disruptions of the hydrology because of too little residual water being discharged at intakes or due to hydropeaking of power plants.

 

Surface waters are characterised by:

  • the predominantly mountainous nature of Austria and the resulting scarcity of land that can be used for agriculture (see also Figure 7);
  • the efforts that have been made for centuries to protect the limited natural living space against natural hazards particularly in the innerAlpine valleys where, taking tourism into account,  population densities that otherwise are only seen in urban areas can be found see also Figure 8);
  • due to the lack of sufficient resources of coal, oil and gas, efforts that have been made for many years to cover energy needs from hydroelectric power;
  • the efforts to ensure selfsufficiency in food which have been made for centuries, also spurred on by the years of scarcity after two world wars   this was not achieved until the 1960s through the reclamation of wetlands by drainage (BMLFUW, 2005).

Pollutants affecting surface water

 

Pollutants

 

The quality standards of good chemical status or of the chemical components of good ecological status have been exceeded in only 25 of Austrias surface water bodies of running waters (Table 1).

 

 

Number of water bodies

Priority substances

 

Hexachlorobutadiene

2

Tributyltin

3

National pollutants

 

Ammonium

13

AOX

1

Copper

1

Zinc

6

Environmental quality standards of the EU Directive exceeded; at present there is no threshold in the national Ordinance on Ecological Quality Objectives for Surface Waters.

 

All Austrian lakes have a good chemical status or a good status regarding the chemical components of the ecological status.

Eutrophication and acidification

Running waters

In the intensively agricultural used areas in the north and east there are some deficits in the saprobiological waterquality  and nutrient loads in the running waters, while in Alpine areas, risk identification in this respect had to be carried out only in extremely rare cases. Failure to meet the target due to general pollutant loads organic load, nutrients occurred in just 19% of water bodies.

 

Most of the water monitoring stations of running waters  83% for annual mean and 60% for maximum value show nitrate concentrations of < 10 mg NO3/l for the reporting period 20032007, the last reporting period in accordance with the EU Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC (BMLFUW, 2008B).  

Nitrate concentration in running waters 03/07   Concentration in classes

Concentration in mg NO3/l

0 1.99

2 9.99

10 24.99

25 39.99

40 50

> 50

00.45mg NO3N/l

0.4522.257mg NO3N/l

2.2595.645mg NO3N/l

5.6489.034mg NO3N/l

9.03611.3mg NO3N/l

>11.3mg NO3N/l

Number of monitoring stations per concentration class

Annual mean

46

179

42

4

 

 

Mean value (winter period)

39

164

58

4

 

 

Maximum

8

154

74

23

6

6

Percentage of monitoring stations refered  to the total number of monitoring stations

Annual mean

17.0

66.1

15.5

1.5

0.0

0.0

Mean value (winter period)

14.7

61.8

22.0

1.5

0.0

0.0

Maximum

3.0

56.8

27.3

8.5

2.2

2.2

If one considers the development of nitrate concentrations in running waters over many years, on the whole it can be assumed that the situation is stable.

 

Lakes

None of the 43 natural and 19 artificial lake water bodies investigated for pollutants or the trophic situation were considered to be at risk of possibly failing the target. In more than 75% of water bodies the current status even  relates to the trophic reference status the causes of eutrophication having been removed by an extensive lake restoration programme in the 1960s and 1970s. By setting up ring collecting systems, the direct discharge of treated wastewater was prevented, and wastewater treatment plants in the catchment areas were upgraded for nutrient removal . In some cases, lake restoration measures, such as deepwater aeration, were used.

 

Acidification was found occasionally in the 1980s in bodies of water in silicate river basins, caused by the geological limestone. In most of the affected waters, studies in the 1990s showed that their acidification status had been improved.

 

 

Wetlands

The main causes for the loss of wetlands are river regulation and largescale drainage operations in agricultural areas.

 

In a survey on the protection of habitats or species in 2005, it was considered that there was no risk to any water body due to poor water quality or an insufficient quantity of water in terms of failing to meet the environmental standards in these respects.

 

 

 

Bathing waters

In the 2008 season, Austria identified a total of 268 bathing waters in rivers and lakes, with threshold values met for 261 of them but limits were exceeded in the other seven. In the past five years the proportion of bathing waters exceeding limits was always less than 5%; in the past 10 years less than 10%.

 

The quality of bathing waters is closely linked to meteorological conditions. Following heavy precipitation, discharges of floodwaters bring increased loads of hygeinically relevant germs, but this situation usually lasts for only a few days. Longterm local climate changes could have some effect on the assessment results of the future. In addition, waste water, mainly of local origin, still plays a part in the quality of bathing waters. Advances in waste water technology and an increasing degree of connection have, however, led to a steady reduction in impacts. 

 

 

Flooding

 

Because of Austrias geographical features, highwater events have always been of great interest for water management and related disciplines: 

  • in the Alps, permanent areas of habitation are restricted to the valleys. This presents a great challenge particularly for spatial planning in the Alpine areas;
  • the orographic conditions lead to locally very distinct meteorological conditions, resulting in the corresponding highwater events;
  • due to the partial storage of winter precipitation and the associated delay of the runoff until the spring and summer, runoff from various causes can combine, for example, precipitation occurring at the same time as the snow melt. 

 

As a result of the floods in 2002 and 2005, the twopart Flood Risk project came ws launched. Its aims were first to document and analyse the events of the floods in 2002, and then to develop strategies for integrated flood management. The linking of the different disciplines was a further important objective.

 

This project has highlighted the extent of variability of different climate scenarios making it extremely difficult to come to a statement for the whole of Austria about changes in the dimension values for discharge.

 

The status of the implementation of the Flood Directive in Austria that work is currently being carried out on the provisional assessment of risk. This is being carried out in close collaboration with the federal Lnder; a working group and a number of subworking groups have been used to this end.

 

Groundwater

Chemical status

 

The largely national, uniform and standardised monitoring of the quality of the groundwater has been carried out in Austria since 1991 on the basis of the Austrian Water Act. Therefore, this set of available data forms an excellent basis for evaluating the chemical status of groundwater. In order to comply with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), a comprehensive evaluation of the monitoring network and strategy was carried out in 2004 and 2005 and thus slightly adapted. One hundred and thirtysix groundwater bodies or groups of groundwater bodies were identified and defined as management and monitoring units. Approximately 2,000 monitoring stations have been set up around the country. The density and distribution of these has been set up according to the pressures and hydrogeological/natural conditions. The extent of investigation is also based on pressures and covers a wide range of pollutants and indicators that is adjusted regularly.

 

 

The results of the chemical status assessment reveal that most groundwater is of good chemical status. Three bodies of groundwater that are used intensively for agricultural purposes in the east of Austria are exceptions on account of nitrate. They are failing to meet good chemical status and have been classified as areas in which measures are to be taken (Bodies of groundwater in which at least 50% of the monitoring stations exceed the environmental quality target for a pollutant) (Figure 4). In accordance with the precautionary principle and to guarantee groundwater as drinking water on a longterm, a threshold value for nitrates of 45 mg/l has been established.

 

At present, 14 observation areas (Body of groundwater in which at least 30% of the monitoring stations exceed the environmental quality target for a pollutant) have been identified (BMLFUW, 2010): this means that while the good status will be reached, first steps for identifying the causes of the pollution have to be taken. Such observation areas are to be seen as prestage before groundwater bodies are classified as areas  of poor status.

 

 

During 20062008, of 2,045 monitoring stations evaluated, 240 approximately 12% have been classified as being at risk from nitrates. This means that the groundwater threshold value of 45 mg/l is, on average, exceeded. The areas at risk are concentrated mainly in the arable farming areas in the north, east and southeast, due for the most part to the small quantities of precipitation and the resulting lack of dilution. Nonetheless, 74.1% of the monitoring stations show, on average, concentrations of less than 25 mg/l.

 

Figure 5 shows the trend in nitrate in groundwater expressed as percentage of monitoring stations exceeding the threshold value based on the annual mean values per site. . After a clear reduction from 1997 to approximately 2000, there was an increase up to 2006. Then the values exceeding the threshold values clearly fell again approximately to the 2000 level. It can be assumed that this development is heavily influenced by the precipitation situation.

 

For other pollutants such as, for example, pesticides, orthophosphate, ammonium and nitrite, threshold values are exceeded although this does not lead to failing good chemical status.

 

For Eionet, in accordance with the criteria specified (EEA, 1998), 14 groundwater bodies with a total of 388 monitoring stations were selected. These have been regularly reported to the EEA. For 20062008, 17.5% of the Eionet stations were classified as being at risk from nitrates while 64.8% show a mean concentration of less than 25 mg/l of nitrate.

 

The results of drinking water monitoring for water supply plants, which abstract more than 1,000 m3 of water per day or which serve more than 5,000 people, are in line with EC 1998 Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC), reported to the European Commission by the Federal Minster of Health every three years.

 

The assessments show that the quality, apart from a few exceptions, was excellent. The exceptions related to values being exceeded by the no longer permitted active ingredients of plant protection agents, atrazine and its metabolites desethylatrazine and desisopropylatrazine, as well as of nitrate and nitrite. The exceeded limits reported were predominantly found in the untreated water from springs or wells, or at the chemical analyses of water from intermediate stages of treatment in the context of step control (BMG, 2009B). 

 

 

Quantitative status

The network for monitoring the quantitative status of groundwater has grown steadily since 1930 and currently consists of 3,290 stations.

 

In drawing up the national water management plan, investigations were carried out, among other things, into how the quantity of water contained in groundwater bodies behaves. For 32 individual groundwater bodies in porous media the status was assessed via groundwater tables; for a further 32 individual groundwater bodies in porous media as well as for the groups of groundwater bodies the assessment was carried out by balancing. It showed that all groundwater bodies are of good quantitative status in the long term, abstraction does not exceed the available groundwater resource.

 

 

Links & References

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Figure 8: CORINE Land cover 2006 (Umweltbundesamt, compiled)

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Data source
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Figure 8: CORINE Land cover 2006 (Umweltbundesamt, compiled)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 7: Population density (PERMANENT SECRETARIAT OF THE ALPINE CONVENTION, 2009)

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Figure 7: Population density (PERMANENT SECRETARIAT OF THE ALPINE CONVENTION, 2009)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 10: Development of the nitrogen balance, kg of N per hectare of agricultural area (BMLFUW, 2008B)

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Figure 10: Development of the nitrogen balance, kg of N per hectare of agricultural area  (BMLFUW, 2008B)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 6: Mean annual precipitation, 1961-1990 (BMLFUW, 2007)

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Figure 6: Mean annual precipitation, 1961-1990 (BMLFUW, 2007)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 9: Comparison of the loads entering and leaving municipal waste water treatment plants, 2006 (BMLFUW, 2008A)

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Figure 9: Comparison of the loads entering and leaving municipal waste water treatment plants, 2006 (BMLFUW, 2008A)
Fullscreen image Original link

Availability of water

Characteristic for the Austrian water management situation is the comparatively large abundance of water. The annual available water yield in Austria is around 84 billion cubic metres, approximately one third of which is groundwater. The mean annual precipitation is 1,170 mm; the annual precipitation varies from more than 2,500 mm in the west to around 500 mm in the east (Figure 6).

 

Population

 

Due to the topographical conditions marked by the Alps the populated areas are concentrated in the river valleys and on the hilly landscape and plains in the north and south/east of the country (Figure 7). The very limited space available for settlement, agriculture and transport routes means that these have always had to be protected from flooding and the resulting constraints are essentially also responsible for the hydromorphological deficits. It is also these areas which, because of the favourable climate and the soils, are mainly used for agriculture (Figures 7, 8).

 

Water consumption

 

The total annual water demand is 2.6 billion m3, around 3% of the total water yield. This represents the total water requirement for usage purposes as drinking water, for agricultural irrigation and process water in trade and industry without cooling water. Of this, 0.8 billion m3 is for drinking water, 1.6 billion m3 is used by trade and industry and 0.2 billion m3 for agricultural irrigation.

A Water Exploitation Index (WEI)  of around 4% can be calculated for 19972005. This WEI corresponds to the annual total water abstraction as a percentage of available longterm freshwater resources. The WEI takes into account cooling water, contrary to the previously used ratio of total water demand versus available water amount.

 

Austria obtains its drinking water from groundwater (wells and springs) the proportion of surface water used for drinking purposes is less than 1%.

 

Future trends in the availability of drinking water should be seen in a regional context, as climate change may cause regional changes in the available amount of water.

 

Water supply and waste water management

 

Public water supply is mainly provided for by local authorities and local authority associations. Around 7.44 million people, approximately 90% of the population, have central water supply; the remaining 10%, 900,000 people, are supplied by their own private wells (VGW Austrian Association for Gas and Water, 2010). Because of the settlement structure, the connection rate to municipal waste water treatment plants is well advanced. 91.7% of the population was connected in 2006; other waste water is collected and treated in accordance with the legal provisions on decentralised plants through, for example, small sewage treatment plants.

 

 

 

Surface water

 

Hydrological and morphological pressures on surface water

Most designations for the risk category in the WFD actual status analysis are caused by hydromorphological pressures. The main causes of this lie in extensive flood protection measures for the populated areas, regulation measures in the valley areas to obtain usable agricultural areas and the intensive use of hydroelectric power.

 

Hydroelectric power production in Austria

Altogether, Austrias 6,400 hydroelectric, thermal, wind, photovoltaic and geothermal plants have around 67,000 GWh gross production. In 2008, the total installed maximum capacity was around 20,700 MW and the proportion of hydroelectric power plants in gross electricity production was 61%. Of this, more than two thirds were produced through diverted flow power stations and around 31% by storage power stations.

While power stations over 10 MW produce 88% of the electricity from hydroelectric power, the remaining 12% is produced by numerous small plants.

As hydroelectric power, as a renewable energy source, provides a very high proportion of the electricity production in Austria, it can be assumed in the light of the overall situation in Austria and of the aims of the Renewable Energy Directive, that the amount of elctricity produced in this way can neither be replaced by other sources of renewable energy nor be offset by saving electricity. (BMLFUW, 2010)

 

Pressures from pollutants on surface water

 

Pollution by point sources

 

Waste water is treated in 1,570 urban wastewater plants larger than 50 PE60, with a total capacity of around 21 million population equivalents (PE60).

 

For the four main parameters BOD5, COD, total nitrogen and total phosphorus in urban wastewater, the incoming and discharged loads of wastewater treatment plants are shown in Figure 9.

The removal rate is 98% for BOD5, 94% for COD, 77% for total nitrogen and 88% for total phosphorus. Therefore the specifications of the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) are met.

  

The proportion of wastewater not dealt with by urban wastewater facilities is regularly removed through small and domestic wastewater treatment plants.

 

The treatment of industrial wastewater, discahrged into surface waters or indirectly into a wastewater treatment facility, is regulated by 67 sectorspecific emissions ordinances.

 


Pollution due to diffuse sources

As regards pollutants, mainly nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are relevant for Austrian surface waters, not least because of the importance of these substances for possible eutrophication of the seas the Black Sea, the North Sea. Land use by griculture and forestry is a important diffuse sources.

 

 

Nutirent  

Deposition (direct)

Surface runoff

Erosion

Drainages

Groundwater discharge

Discharge from paved urban areas

Point Sources

Total

N  t/a

2,310

16,790

2,970

3,370

36,370

2,530

15,200

79,540

N  %

2,9%

21,1%

3,7%

4,2%

45,7%

3,2%

19,1%

100,0%

P  t/a

48

559

3,069

17

652

399

1,204

5,948

P %

0,8%

9,4%

51,6%

0,3%

11,0%

6,7%

20,2%

100,0%

Nitrogen is emitted into  surface waters mainly  through groundwater and phosphorus mainly through erosion. Both in the case of nitrogen and phosphorus, inputs from diffuse sources predominate. Because of the specific situation of Austria high precipitation and mountainious topography there is a high natural background concentration particularly of phosphorus.

 

 

Nitrogen inputs from diffuse sources are mainly from agriculture, but emissions from incineration processes also contribute. Nitrogen inputs from mineral and organic fertilizers are clearly decreasing, which is also reflected in a clear reduction in nitrogen surpluses on agricultural areas since the 1990s. The level of nitrogen surpluses (Figure 10) shows that, compared to other countries, the intensity of agriculture is rather small.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, due also to the overall implementation of the nitrate action programme, there has been a clear improvement in management practice in relation to water protection.

 

 

Groundwater

Three groundwater bodies in the east of Austria that are used intensively for agriculture have failed to be of good chemical status due to nitrate pollution. Mainly due to nitrogen inputs from diffuse sources. The pressure situation regarding nitrogen and the development over time is shown in the section on surface water pollution due to diffuse sources. As regards the concentrations in groundwater, the precipitation situation and the resulting renewal rate of groundwater (distribution over time and its extent) do of course play a very important role. Particularly affected are the regions in the east of Austria where there is less precipitation.

Links & References

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Figure 11: Proportion of natural running waters which should display a good or high status in the years 2015, 2021 and 2027 (percentages refer to the length of the surface water bodies of running waters with a catchment area greater than 10 km2) (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)

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Data source
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Figure 11: Proportion of natural running waters which should display a good or high status in the years 2015, 2021 and 2027 (percentages refer to the length of the surface water bodies of running waters with a catchment area greater than 10 km2)  (BMLFUW, 2010 - modified)
Fullscreen image Original link

Running waters

 

Management measures will be applied to running waters that already have good status to ensure that protection continues. For waters which have a status below food, objectives have been set which will lead to a stepbystep improvement of the status in the waters over the whole perid of the water management plan, up to 2027, until the good status is achieved.

 

Measures in the first water management plan relate to heavily modified water bodies, improvements are mainly evident in these. As far as natural water bodies are concerned measures concentrate on the improvement of the status of large rivers by the construction of fish passes and ecologically sufficient water discharge.  

The effect of the measures is to be evaluated by accompanying investigations. In waters with a catchment area <100 km, targeted improvement measures are to be provided for the third planning period 20212027  (BMLFUW, 2010).

 

Waste water management

In the coming years there will be a further slight increase in the connection rate to the urban wastewater treatment plants due to the extension of the sewerage network mainly in the rural areas. Because of the structure of the settlements and topography, a 100% connection rate is neither feasible nor essential (BMLFUW, 2008A)

After the infrastructure investments in the past decades, the emphasis in urban wastewater management in the coming years will be focused on operational imporvements and maintenance of the infrastructure. As far as emissions into surface waters are concerned, in future questions priority substances will have to be regarded and all input paths, both diffuse and point, will have to be examined.

 

 

Groundwater

For the three groundwater bodies without good status due to nitrate, extensions of time limits to 2027 are being sought in order to meet the targets. The reasons for this are the natural conditions in particular the long residence times of groundwater. The measures are laid down in the national water management plan.

The groundwater chemical monitoring programme is evaluated at regular intervals and the scope of the investigation programme concerning pollutants is adapted, based on new knowledge and on the results of special monitoring programmes.

 

 

Flooding

Water management systems will meet the future challenges in different ways. Conventional technical flood protection measures will also be used in future, particularly where high economic values, centres of population and other important infrastructures are to be protected. In addition to this, however, more attention will be paid to dealing with passive flood protection, for example spatial planning, measures such as  keeping areas at risk open or stipulate forms of land use which tolerates flooding. These measures will require the cooperation of many different disciplines.

 

 

Climate change

The effects of climate change may in future bring about regional changes in water resources. Information on water abstraction and estimates regarding the need for obtaining drinking water are therefore becoming more important.

 

Links & References

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

In Austria measures are implemented on the basis of the Water Act with the corresponding regulations. Subsequently the essential measures which are laid down in the National Water Management Plan are taken up.

 

Pollution of surface water (nutrients) and groundwater (nitrate)

The reduction in the pressures on surface water from nutrients can be achieved by a combination of measures on point sources, water treatment plants, and diffuse sources, mainly agriculture.

 

As set out in the fifth report of the European Commission on the implementation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC, Austria meets the specifications on waste water treatment and fullfill its reporting obligations to the European Commission.

 

The treatment of industrial wastewater takes place in accordance with the best available techniques (BAT), which is provided for in the 67 Austrian wastewater emission ordinances.

 

By 2015, those few wastewater treatment plants which do not yet meet the requirements of the Austrian Urban Waste Water ordinance regarding the removal of nutrients are to be brought up to the best available techniques.

  

Through the forceful implementation of the nitrates action programme, the diffuse emissions into groundwater and surface water will be further reduced. In addition to the obligatory measures there are also voluntary measures in the agricultural development programme (PUL Austrian programme for sustainable agriculture).

 

The measures adopted are to be continuously evaluated and developed further.

 

 

Hydromorphology of surface water

There is need for action particularly in river morphology and hydrology, drainage conditions and freeflow in running waters. Improvement priorities to 2015 include measures to restore the ability of fish to pass. The development of hydroelectric power is in a potential area of conflict with the main ecological objectives and is to be achieved in accordance with the specifications of the Water Framework Directive.

 


Flooding

Following the extreme flooding in 2002 and the floods in recent years, a comprehensive causeeffect analysis has been carried out. In the context of integrated flood protection management, in addition to technical measures, in future increased passive flood protection, danger zone designation, spatial planning and socioeconomic prevention measures restricted use of areas at risk, warning and alarm plans, disaster prediction, etc. as well as upstream water retention measures will be included in future planning.

 

Implementation of the EU Floods Directive into national law started in 2009; currently the river basins most at risk are being identified and flood risk maps and danger and risk maps as well as plans for flood risk management are being drawn up in accordance with the Directive.

 

 

Links & References

Disclaimer

The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100