Water Rights Act - Hazard Zoning Ordinance (WRG-Gefahrenzonenplanungsverordnung - WRG-GZPV)

Excerpt of a hazard zone plan
Photo: Land Kärnten

The goal of this Ordinance is the definition of more detailed provisions on content, form and shaping of hazard zoning according to the Water Rights Act 1959.

With the Amendment to the Water Rights Act 2011 Wasserrechtsgesetz-Novelle 2011, Federal Law Gazette. I No. 14/2001 it has been defined that, in particular for areas with potentially significant flood risk, hazard zone plans have to be prepared (Section 42a, para. 2, Water Rights Act 1959). More detailed provisions on its content, as well as the form and the design shall be enacted by way of Ordinance.

The Hazard Zoning Ordinance according to the Water Rights Act 1959 (WRG-Gefahrenzonenplanungsverordnung – WRG-GZPV), Federal Law Gazette II No 145/2014 entered into force on 14 June 2014.

What are Hazard Zone Plans?

Hazard Zone Plans are expert opinions on the assessment of areas (in particular of inundation areas) which are of great importance in the field of flood protection.

What is the purpose of Hazard Zone Plans?

Such planning instruments have already turned out to be effective in the fields of the Federal Hydraulic Engineering Administration, of water management planning, and of torrent and avalanche control (on the basis of the Forestry Act 1975). Hazard zoning according to Section 42a para. 2 Water Rights Act 1959, is to standardise already existing planning instruments and adapt them according to the state of arts. 

The identification of hazard zones and flooding areas on the basis of this Ordinance raises the risk awareness and increases thus the security of the population. The information of the population on the risk by floods is ensured. This knowledge aims at ensuring that potentially affected persons actively take care about the implementation of protective water management measures.

How are hazard zones plans designed?

Hazard zone plans consist of a map part, a text part and a data part. The core of the presentation are maps on a scale of 1:5,000 or even more precise. The identification of zones takes place by means of a presentation in different colours.

  • Red hazard zone = permanent use for settlement or transport purposes is not possible due to potential  damaging effects or only with unproportionally high efforts.
  • Yellow hazard zone = different hazards of lower extent or impairments of the use for settlement and transport purposes and/or damage of building objects and transport facilities are possible.
  • Yellow hatched zone = lower probability of hazards caused by floods including the failure of protective hydraulic engineering structures caused by it.
  • Red hatched zone = Residual risk areas within the sphere of influence of flood protection facilities, where higher damaging effects due to floods are to be expected..
  • Red-yellow hatched functional areas = required areas for flood run-off and/or flood retention to reduce the hazard potential in the discharged area.
  • Blue functional areas = required areas for the implementation as well as for the maintenance of the functions of planned measures in the field of protective water management, which must not necessarily be flooding areas.

What is new?

The hazard zone plans, which now have to be established also in the sector of water management (sovereign task), are in accordance with the hazard zones of torrent and avalanche control according to the Forestry Act 1975, attention has been paid to a parallel colour design.