Subsidisation of protection against floods

Retention basin Pleißling
Photo: Land Salzburg

A decisive share of buildings in Austria is threatened by floods. If whole settlements are concerned, a technical protective measure is often the best way towards more security. In the following article it is outlined which planning steps are gone through until the measure is implemented and subsidized.

As a rule, the interest in protective measures, and thus the first step towards the measure, comes from a municipality, a water association, a water co-operative or a similar affiliation. As a rule, existing hazard potential shall be identified and made visible on the basis of the hazard zone plan - and not only after a disaster.

The prerequisite for the implementation of protective measures is the existence of a subordinate planning, for example a water development and risk management concept (WD-RM) for the catchment area or a general planning concept. In this way, interactions with other sectors and interest groups shall be assessed and a general feasibility shall be evaluated. The key element in the course of the first planning steps is the examination of and the comparison between different options as well as the assessment of their costs and benefits. As a rule, measures aiming at flood retention are to be given priority over water regulations, simply alone because of ecological reasons, but also due to the potential deterioration for downstream populations. As a rule the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management, the respective Federal Province and the interested party as an applicant are not only involved in the decision-taking process in favour of one option, but also in the financing of the measure.

If the respective foundations for planning as well as a hazard zone plan are available, the detailed planning and the implementation of a measure can start after an informal application submitted to the hydraulic engineering departments of the Federal Provinces, clarifying detailed questions of financing in the course of this step - the basis of which are the applicable technical guidelines (RWA-T) and implementing provisions. By means of the implementation of measures the flood risk can be sustainably reduced. At the same time ecological improvements on our rivers and brooks can often be achieved as well, which constitutes an additional benefit for the public.