EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Reducing future water stress in the Seewinkel region in Austria: exploring water management opportunities for the sustainable use of the shared groundwater resource.

Reetik Kumar Sahu1, Taher Kahil1, Luca Guillaumot1, Peter Burek1, Susanne Hangar-Kopp2, Veronica Karabaczek2, Martina Offenzeller3, and Helga Lindinger3
Reetik Kumar Sahu et al.
  • 1International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program, Laxenburg, Austria
  • 2International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Population and Just Societies Program, Laxenburg, Austria
  • 3Environmental Agency Austria, Vienna, Austria

Austria is well endowed with water resources where the total water demand consumes only 3% of the total water supply. However, with increased water demand from agriculture, domestic and industrial sectors and increased frequency of high heat and drought occurrences from future climate change, several regions can potentially face high water stress for short periods in a year which is detrimental to the economy and the environment. The Seewinkel region located in eastern Austria is one such case where both agriculture and environment are dependent on a reliable quantity of water to be available throughout the year. Apart from precipitation, additional crop water requirement is satisfied using an irrigation infrastructure. Groundwater which is the sole source of irrigation water in the region is pumped based on the water allocations prescribed to each irrigation cooperative in the region. These allocations currently limit groundwater withdrawals for potentially higher agricultural output and maintain the natural Seewinkel wetland supported by groundwater body. With climate change induced water stress in the future, sufficient water table levels cannot be maintained throughout the year whil​e simultaneously trying to satisfy agricultural and environmental water demand. Our study identifies different cost optimal management strategies to optimally manage the groundwater resources shared between multiple irrigation cooperatives in the region. Some of the strategies include optimal crop-land mix, irrigation technology transitions, building new water supply infrastructure and using financial instruments. Additionally, the study aims to identify the nature of the shared common pool of groundwater to identify the potential of trading water allocation rights between irrigation cooperatives which can lead to efficient water use. The strategies have been identified based on the stakeholder interviews conducted in the region under the WaterStressAT project KR19AC0K17504 funded by the Austrian Climate Research Program twelfth call.

How to cite: Sahu, R. K., Kahil, T., Guillaumot, L., Burek, P., Hangar-Kopp, S., Karabaczek, V., Offenzeller, M., and Lindinger, H.: Reducing future water stress in the Seewinkel region in Austria: exploring water management opportunities for the sustainable use of the shared groundwater resource., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11170,, 2022.