Water, Protection of Bodies of: On the basis of the 1934 Water Act (as amended in 1959, 1990), all activities that may affect surface and subsoil waters in a significant way are subject to approval by the Water Authorities. Since the 1990 amendment, Austrian water law has been among the strictest in the world. A further, though temporary, restriction of waste water releases introduced in 1993 in favour of municipal effluents has closed another important gap. Enforcement of the water law is incumbent on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management as the supreme water authority, the executive offices of provincial governments and the district administrations, which are also in charge of the Water Register. P>
In view of the enormous amounts of money required for the protection of waters, the Law on the Promotion of Water Engineering Projects of 1948, which established a special fund financed by the federal and provincial authorities, provided an important basis for successfully cleaning up Austrian lakes. A further step was taken in 1993, when a uniform Law on the Promotion of Environmental Projects was passed which focuses in particular on purification measures for municipal and industrial effluents.
The Oesterreichische Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaftsverband (Austrian Water and Solid Waste Management Association), based in Vienna, is the forum and co-ordination centre for all regional authorities, companies and associations that deal with matters concerning the beneficial use of water.
Insufficient municipal waste water disposal schemes, and the increasing nitrate pollution of ground water reserves by agricultural activities remain problematic areas that will continue to be a challenge for the future. Another particularly sensitive and cost-intensive problem is the rehabilitation of old and environmentally hazardous refuse dumps and contaminated industrial locations.
Literature#B. Raschauer, Wasserrechtsgesetz, Kommentar, 1993.