Drinking Water

Changed on: 23.01.2017
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Drinking water is our most important comestible. Thus, it is essential to supply excellent drinking water quality to the population. Unlike many other countries, Austria is able to cover its entire drinking water demand using water from protected groundwater deposits. The water usually comes to consumers in its natural state and with consistently excellent quality levels. The comprehensive monitoring – from water suppliers to customers – ensures a high degree of protection for Austria’s drinking water supply.

More information
IS7043.JPG
caption

Drinking water is our most important comestible. Thus, it is essential to supply excellent drinking water quality to the population. Unlike many other countries, Austria is able to cover its entire drinking water demand using water from protected groundwater deposits. The water usually comes to consumers in its natural state and with consistently excellent quality levels. The comprehensive monitoring – from water suppliers to customers – ensures a high degree of protection for Austria’s drinking water supply.

More information

Drinking water information

The “Infoportal Trinkwasser” platform, supported by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Austrian Association for Gas and Water (ÖVGW) and AGES, provides a wide range of information on drinking water.

Its key aspect is a web database through which water analysis data from across all Austria can be accessed. The data is provided by suppliers on a voluntary basis and updated regularly. The information desired can be accessed quickly and intuitively via an interactive map of Austria or by entering the appropriate postal code.

The portal also provides background information on drinking water and drinking water test results, in addition to the test results themselves. The individual content and its meaning, as well as scientific and technical terms, are explained in a way that everyone can understand them. 

Drinking water report

The Austrian Drinking Water Report includes the data of those water supply facilities that provide over 1,000 cubic meters water per day on average or that supply more than 5,000 individuals (large water supply facility). However, it also contains smaller water supply facilities.




Drinking water assessment results

Drinking water suppliers must inform their customers about the quality of the drinking water provided on a regular basis. This is done using drinking water assessment results.

The results should give an as comprehensive as possible overview of the chemical, physical and bacteriological properties of the drinking water, the structural and hygiene situation at the facility, as well as the water yield situation. Experts collect information on factors such as visual appearance, smell and water temperature, the structural condition of the facility and others when taking samples to achieve this, and the process is then completed with extensive tests in accredited laboratories.

The values of the assessment results represent the current situation at the time of sample taking. Only regular tests and comparisons of these tests will ensure water quality over a longer period of time and maintain it using appropriate actions, if required. 

This information must be given to consumers at least once a year and contain the analysis results of the following parameters:

  • nitrate
  • pesticides
  • concentration of hydrogen ions (pH value)
  • total water hardness 
  • carbonate hardness
  • potassium 
  • calcium 
  • magnesium
  • sodium 
  • chloride
  • sulphate

Control

Supervising compliance with food law regulations is the responsibility of the Provincial Governor, who is regarded as the relevant authority, and trained supervisory bodies. The Federal Ministry of Health coordinates the supervisory and monitoring activities of the authorities involved.

A "Multi-year Risk-Based Control Plan Drinking Water“ (MK-TW) helps to improve official drinking water monitoring. This control concept helps identify new areas of risk potential ahead of time, making it possible to put appropriate countermeasures into place. To do this, the proposals for annual focus campaigns are collected, ranked by experts across various institutions and worked on with regards of their feasibility and then specified further.

AGES is also involved in this complex monitoring system, conducting a risk assessment in line with scientific aspects and an analysis of data, in line with standard statistical methods to ensure excellent drinking water quality.

Private wells or springs, from which approximately 10 % of  the Austrian population takes its drinking water, are not subject to public control. Owners have to carry out regular tests on water quality and on the structural situation of the water supply system themselves in their own interest.

Legal principles

The sale of drinking water is regulated in detail in the Austrian Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG) and the Austrian Drinking Water Ordinance (TWV). These laws place very high requirements on the quality and the monitoring of drinking water.

Anyone providing and selling drinking water is considered a food business in the sense of the Austrian Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG) and is legally obliged to have the drinking water tested on a regular basis as part of self-monitoring obligations. Only authorised officials or institutes, such as AGES, are entitled to examine and assess the drinking water and supervise and monitor water supply facilities.

Furthermore, the Austrian Food Code Chapter B1 Drinking Water lists the general requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance in detail and complements them with indicator parameter values for parameters not explicitly mentioned in the Ordinance (such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphate, etc.). It also includes regulations on officially approved treatment and disinfection processes, as well as information on how inspections are to be conducted.

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