Status: 21/09/2023, 17:16 p.m.
By: Robin Dittrich
Around 80 percent of the water level of Lake Neusiedl depends on rain, but this is not enough. The Danube is supposed to prevent it from drying out.
Neusiedl am See – The problem with Lake Neusiedl is that the rain is less and less, especially in winter, which means that the lake slowly dries up. Water from the Danube, which is channelled into Austria's largest lake, is intended to help.
The drying out of Lake Neusiedl is to be prevented – the Danube is to help
The water from the Danube is to reach Lake Neusiedl on the Austrian-Hungarian border via a 40-kilometre-long pipeline. "We want to prevent the lake from drying out by all means," said Christian Sailer from the Burgenland Water Department. The level of Lake Neusiedl depends on 80 percent rainwater. The level of the 36-kilometre-long and 14-kilometre-wide lake therefore continues to drop as dry phases persist. Meanwhile, some regions of Austria are hit by floods.
Lake Neusiedl is drying out more and more due to its high dependence on rainwater - this is now to be prevented. © Viennareport/Imago
With the diversion of the Danube into Lake Neusiedl, the importance of precipitation for the water level is to be reduced to 70 percent. Although the plans for this are in the room, they are not yet a done deal because the nature impact assessment is pending. Environmentalists fear that the extraneous water will cause additional mud and algae formation in the lake. This could severely contaminate the approximately 13,000 old lakes.
How bad is Austria's largest lake really?
For Christian Sailer, "the current condition of Lake Neusiedl is satisfactory." In most places, this is over a meter deep, which is still a few centimeters more than in the summer of 2022, when rainfall was scarce in the area. There, many newspapers circulated photos of a dried-up lake. Patrik Hierner from Tourismus Burgenland said that these were "just snapshots. Due to the constant wind, the water was temporarily displaced, but soon flowed back again."
The influence of fresh water from the Danube would probably prevent a phenomenon. Lake Neusiedl dries up again and again, "about once a 100 years, most recently from 1865 to 1871," as Patrik Hierner said – that would probably not happen again. According to the tourism expert, it is important for many tourists that the lake is constantly filled with water. The special thing is that in the middle of the enormous area of Lake Neusiedl you can stand almost anywhere. The water level of Lake Garda is also falling further and further – experts are worried. (RD with dpa)