World Water Day 2019: VERBUND in action for clean and species-rich rivers
Austria uses the geographical advantage of its numerous waterways to generate electricity. Last year, VERBUND recovered 16,000 tonnes of flotsam and waste from the power plants, as documented in the “Integrated Annual Report 2018”.
International World Water Day on 22 March is intended to raise awareness of the importance of this precious resource. This includes the cleanliness of our waterways. At some point, what lands in the water has to pass through one of VERBUND’s power plants. So-called rake cleaning machines are therefore in operation at power plants throughout Austria. They remove the flotsam from the country’s waterways. Apart from pieces of wood of various sizes, plastic and civilization waste is always present at the power plants and disposed of professionally by partner companies. The integrated annual report for 2018 indicates 16,000 tonnes. Due to the low water intake of the previous year, the total is clearly below this figure, but this only indicates a shift in the quantity over time and not a reduction in the amount of waste.
Nature conservation and biodiversity in Austria’s rivers
2,800 hectares of plant areas at VERBUND power plants were subsequently placed under protection – the protection ordinances extend from Natura-2000 to Ramsar. Land restoration projects such as the LIFE+ Traisen partner project prove that the biodiversity of power plant sites can be improved quickly and surprisingly successfully with intelligent landscape planning.
Fifty-three fish bypasses make power plants barrier-free
VERBUND more than fulfils the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive with technically innovative or even large-scale fish bypasses. Wherever possible, VERBUND works together with partners from the EU, the federal government, the federal provinces and the fishing industry to create more than just the continuity of the rivers. Additional habitats, such as Europe’s longest fish bypass in Ottensheim-Wilhering on the Danube, are spawning grounds and habitats for fish and provide a refuge for aquatic life. The aim is to ensure that domestic hydropower plants are completely barrier-free.
Integrated annual report to download (German only)