Only five percent of Vienna’s drinking water comes from groundwater resources or urban zones. The remainder is spring water from a 1,000-km2-large nature preserve shared with the Austrian provinces of Lower Austria and Styria. About one third of the area is owned and managed by the Austrian capital. In all other parts of the preserve, drinking water abstraction needs to be attuned to the interests of forest owners, tourism, and pasture farming. Most of Vienna’s high-quality spring water is derived from karstic terrains.
Karst is a rock formation that soaks up water like a sponge; its preservation is essential to drinking water management also in other European regions. The systematic and thorough exploration of Vienna’s spring water preserves – Rax, Schneealm, Schneeberg and Hochschwab – took its start some twenty years ago. After their participation in the two EU KATER (Karst Water Research Programme) research initiatives, the Vienna Waterworks launched another project in May 2009: Climate Change and Impacts on Water Supply (CC-WaterS).
This research project is carried out in conjunction with 18 partners from several European countries and lasts until April 2012. CC-WaterS takes place under the umbrella of the EU Southeast Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme (SEE TCP) and is funded by the Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A budget of 4.3 million euros has been earmarked for this project.
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(Source: aqua press Int. 3/2009, Astrid Kuffner & Christof Hahn)