After extensive processing and analysis of the Drau river floods of 2012, the state of Carinthia and VERBUND will now be commencing talks for better protection of the municipality of Lavamünd during a flood. Taking the technical, ecological and legal general conditions along the entire river Drau into consideration, a package of measures will be developed within the framework of an own work group. At the talks, VERBUND will introduce those suggestions to be agreed upon by the Water Authorities regarding adapted weir operating regulations and is moreover immediately making all documents and the final report on the Drau flooding available on the internet.
A year after the dramatic flooding of the river Drau on 5 November 2012, many documents on the floods have been laid on the table as well as the concluding final report from the Upper Water Authorities at the Ministry of Life. All audit reports have been incorporated in this final report and VERBUND clearly attests that it has been duly carried out. Among other things, suggestions were gleaned from the report regarding how protection from the same kind of extreme conditions along the entire river Drau area in Carinthia could in future be improved as well as regarding the municipality of Lavamünd, which up to now has not been made secure against flooding.
In order to provide expert clarification of these suggestions and their implementation, a work group has been put together comprising and agreed upon by the state of Carinthia and VERBUND. This work group will take into account the technical and ecological general conditions of the chain of power plants and special regional features to devise concrete protection measures for the municipality of Lavamünd: "We're planning a coordinated package of measures for Lavamünd, which contains elaborate technical flood protection as well as a precisely adapted control system for the power plants" says Karl Heinz Gruber, CEO of VERBUND Hydro Power AG.
As a first step VERBUND has devised concrete suggestions for the expansion of governmental operating regulations for the power plants on the river Drau and has submitted them to the Upper Water Authorities for approval and presented them to the state. In this way, not only will the normal operation of the ten run-of-river plants, which generate over half of the electricity needs of the state of Carinthia, be regulated, but also operation under exceptional conditions (e.g. flooding) officially codified. These "weir operation regulations" prescribe, similar to a checklist, among other things, how individual backwater areas should be managed (targeted water level) as regards water flow and defined time periods.
"In compliance with the current valid guidelines, on 5 November 2012 our colleagues managed to protect dozens of municipalities in Drautal and Rosental, along the entire chain of power plants on the river Drau from being flooded. They managed this within a matter of hours despite the water flow having increased drastically due to heavy rainfalls occurring across the country", Karl Heinz Gruber clearly rebuffs all accusations: "Such an extreme increase of the river Drau has never been seen before, it has, however, highlighted the necessity for protecting Lavamünd, which lies outside the area of our power plant facilities and up to now has had no flooding protection at its disposal".
Info Events Along the Drau and all Documents on the Internet Can be Accessed
Alongside the documents on the flooding in 2012 on the internet www.verbund.com/drauhochwasser2012 the current water level data of the Drau power plants from the hydrographic services of the state of Carinthia have been made available online for quite some time. Moreover, information events about the functioning of the power plants and the future operating measures are planned to take place in the coming months in the region along the river Drau.