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Refreshment from the Tap: Everything You Should Know About Drinking Water in Vienna.

Erfrischung aus der Leitung: Alles, was du über das Trinkwasser in Wien wissen solltest

Tap water is the most consumed drinking water in Germany and Austria. The history of water supply in Vienna dates back to the 19th century when the first water pipes were laid to continuously provide the population with drinking water. Over time, the quality of Vienna's tap water has steadily improved. But what is the current status of Vienna's tap water? 

Where Does the Water Come From Today?

Vienna's pipes carry high-quality water from the Lower Austrian and Styrian Alps. The source area of the I. Viennese High Springs Line includes the regions around Schneeberg, Rax, and Schneealpe, while the source area of the II. Viennese High Springs Line covers the Hochschwab mountain range. The areas around the sources are protected as conservation areas to prevent contamination. Additional groundwater is only introduced in cases of extremely high water consumption during heatwaves or maintenance work on the high spring lines.

From the Alps to Vienna

Through two high spring lines and without the need for pumps, water from the Lower Austrian and Styrian Alps flows to Vienna. The I. High Springs Line delivers a whopping 220 million liters daily over distances of up to 150 kilometers. The II. High Springs Line supplies an additional 217 million liters of water per day, covering distances of up to 180 kilometers. Within 36 hours, the water overcomes an elevation difference of 360 meters. The slope along the lines is utilized for electricity generation, meeting the needs of an entire small town. From the endpoints of the high spring lines, the water flows into 31 water reservoirs, capable of covering the water consumption of all Viennese for about four days. Through a 3,000-kilometer-long pipeline network and over 100,000 house connection lines, the water is then distributed to homes and apartments. Around 1,300 drinking fountains allow not only Viennese but also city visitors to quench their thirst.

Is Vienna Tap Water Healthily Safe?

The quality and safety of Vienna tap water are of utmost importance for the health of the population. The Vienna water supplier strictly adheres to the Drinking Water Ordinance and conducts regular tests to ensure that tap water meets quality requirements. Vienna values its drinking water so much that it is the only city in the world that has constitutionally protected drinking water. In 2001, the Vienna Water Charter was specifically formulated for this purpose.

What Exactly Is in Vienna Tap Water?

Vienna tap water has a hardness level between 6 and 11 German degrees of hardness. This places it in the soft to medium range, meaning it contains fewer calcium and magnesium ions. This results in fewer deposits forming in household appliances and pipes, and less soap or dishwashing detergent is needed for cleaning and personal care. Vienna water is also regularly checked for other components such as heavy metals, bacteria, and germs. However, traces of lead, copper, or nitrate can enter the water if house connection lines release these substances. If you want to ensure that your tap water is safe, you can have it tested. Some testing options are even available for free, such as through Wasser-Tester.

Vienna Drinking Water – Recommended?

Viennese people swear by their water, often considering it the best drinking water in Europe. For over 20 years, water has been protected by its own constitutional provision. Directly from the Lower Austrian and Styrian Alps, Vienna's water reaches the city's pipes and fountains. Despite all protective measures, traces of heavy metals or nitrate may be present in the water if house connection lines release these substances. Therefore, it is essential to test your water and regularly clean pipes and fittings. After that, nothing stands in the way of enjoying your drinking water.

 

Picture by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash  

Sources:

https://www.wien.gv.at/wienwasser/pdf/geschichte-wasserversorgung.pdf
https://www.wien.gv.at/wienwasser/versorgung/
https://www.wien.info/de/lebenswertes-wien/wasser-in-wien/wiener-wasser-365800
https://www.wien.gv.at/wienwasser/versorgung/weg/index.html
https://www.wien.gv.at/wienwasser/versorgung/charta.html
https://www.wien.gv.at/wienwasser/qualitaet/haerte.html
https://wasser-tester.at/home/

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