In order to meet the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive and to financially support measures to establish a good ecological status of running waters, funds to the amount of € 140 million have been made available by the Federal Government since 2009. These funds have been completely exploited. Therefore, another € 200 million have been made available for measures aiming at the improvement of the ecological status of waters by means of an Amendment to the Environmental Support Act (Umweltförderungsgesetz) in summer 2020.
The more detailed framework conditions for the allocation of subsidies in the field of water ecology have been put in concrete terms in two subsidisation guidelines, on the one hand for municipal applicants kommunale Förderungswerber (municipalities, associations) and, on the other hand, for competitors WettbewerbsteilnehmerInnen (E industry, other enterprises).
The administration of the subsidisation takes place in close cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT), represented by the settlement agency Kommunalkredit Public Consulting GmbH, and the Federal Provinces.
The subsidisation takes in general place in the form of investment aid.
Eligible are measures
- aiming at the improvement of passability
- aiming at the restructuring of morphologically modified stretches of running waters
- aiming at the reduction of the effects of runoffs
- aiming at the reduction of the effects of backwater
- aiming at the reduction of the effects of the swell
The EU Water Framework Directive (implemented by the Austrian Water Rights Act) stipulates that the waters in the Member States have to reach a good water status. Apart from the protection of waters the Member States have to take measures aiming at the improvement and the restoration of the water status. In Austria there are primarily deficits regarding hydro-morphology, i.e. regarding the passability of running waters, the water structure, and the run-off conditions.
The high percentage of ecologically impaired water sections is, on the one hand, due to the intensive utilisation of Austrian waters for energy generation, and on the other hand, due to the necessary interventions for the purpose of flood control. Primarily in the larger running waters, which are inhabited by migratory fish, the fish population has been significantly impaired in the course of the past few decades, so that in many water sections of Danube, Inn and Drava many and important water-typical species are missing.