Water is a precious commodity. Water creates life on earth and fulfills indispensable functions for humans, fauna and flora. Every industry is dependent on available high-quality water. However, a large number of human activities lead to pollution of our waters, which have effects on water quality, e.g. by pollutant loads of groundwater and surface waters. Therefore we are asked to maintain water quality in the long term and to improve where necessary
Austria is one of the most watery countries in Europe. The average annual rainfall of aorund 1,100 mm corresponds approximately to twice the content of Lake Constance (a lake in Vorarlberg). Around half of our drinking water used comes from groundwater resources in Austria and 50% from natural fountains. Once used it is treated as waste water, then purified and returned to the water cycle via the rivers. The water quality in Austria is closely monitored and the water quality data are published regularly
Since the 1960s there have been comprehensive statutory regulations and measures for water pollution control in Austria. The consistent use of subsidies plays a decisive role in maintaining water quality. The results are evident as well as the various economic impulses that have been set.
The construction, operation and maintenance of the water supply infrastructure are covered by domestic companies through innovative products and services. Austrian water management companies generate annual sales of around 300 million euros. A large portion of this is attributable to drinking water treatment, followed by the areas of wastewater treatment and drinking water supply.
Around 2,000 employees are working in the water management sector. The domestic industry is characterized by a high ratio of exports, with key target countries mainly located in the Eastern and South Eastern European market (e.g. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia).
Through research cooperations (for example with universities) and technological innovations the Austrian water technology sector is often one of the first provider in the market. For example, the domestic industry produces more patent applications (relative to all environmental technology patents) in the water and waste water sector than Germany or the entire EU. This illustrates the importance of this technology area.