Water Engineering
(Foto: googleearth)

In Search of Retention Zones

The example of the Tyrolean community of St. Johann illustrates how controversial flood retention zones actually are. aqua press looks into the underlying criteria for identifying such zones in Austria

Austria seeks to enhance its efforts to protect and restore the eco-systems in its water bodies in compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive. Brook and river restoration programmes are mainly targeted at improving the hydromorphological condition.

This also has an effect on flood prevention, for which in future more retention zones will be needed. Many former wetlands were turned into settlement areas, industrial zones and sporting grounds as a result of improper zoning; when they can no longer be restored to their original condition, the creation of new retention zones in close proximity to residential areas will gain importance.

This also needs to be seen in context with the provisions of the EU Floods Directive, which puts a ban on the common practice of quickly draining off the floodwater to downstream communities. While the creation of new retention zones is relatively easy in Austria’s east with its vast plains, such areas are much harder to find in the western and southern regions of the country where mountain ranges abound.

The example of Tyrol shows exceptionally well how much the interests of urban and economic development, road construction, forestry, agriculture and farming, and – last but not least – flood prevention are clashing. There is a particular interest in exploiting the potential that still exists in forestry and agriculture.

A case in point is the community of St. Johann. Because of the rapid population growth in this community, a civil engineering firm was retained to review existing zoning along the local rivers (“Reither Ache” and “Fieberbrunner Ache”). The best (and cheapest) option according to the review was to convert some blocks of arable land at the community’s outskirts (24 and 17 hectares) into a flood retention zone.

The farmers, fearing they might lose their arable land, sought assistance from scientists (also visit the website forschung.boku.ac. at), regional press and legal advisers, which resulted in other optional zones further upstream to be taken into account in planning.

To read the full article please download file below.

(Source: aqua press Int. 2/2009, Mag. Christof Hahn)


The basis for prosperity and all other goals of the “EU Strategy for the Danube Region“ (EUSDR) is “Good Governance”. This concept not only comprises…

more

This year, we are awarding a AU$200,000 prize for outstanding achievements in sustainable river basin management.

more

The European Waste Water Management Conference is the UK's leading conference for wastewater professionals. Over 50 technical papers will be presented…

more

Water Expo China will return once again to Beijing’s New China International Exhibition Center from 15 – 17 November 2016. The three-day event is…

more

The Austrian Ministry of Environment has meanwhile received public feedback on the second implementation phase of the WFD in Austria. The following…

more

Especially so in the Danube River, as Austria's Infrastructure Minister Alois Stöger pointed out during the presentation of the integrated Danube…

more

In Austria, summertime is festival time. Besides classical concerts and theatre performances, there are also special awareness-raising events around…

more

These conflicting interests are also a concern for Franz Grabner, the new CEO of Pipelife Austria effective 1st July. In an interview with aqua press…

more

This prestigious global award of the International RiverFoundation (IRF) is bestowed in Brisbane in late September. The river restoration programme…

more

Thanks to the adoption of a new technology at LINZ AG Wasser in November, staff no longer has to work shifts and weekends and customers benefit from…

more

Subscription and Media Data

You want to know the leading Austrian trade magazine ? You want to learn about release dates , priorities and advertising opportunities ?

Here you are right!

SubscriptioN | Abonnement

Media Data