Vienna: infrastructure initiative for a growing city

Worker at the reservoir basin Simmering

By 2020, over EUR 1.3 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects to ensure key services like drinking water supply, waste water management and energy provision keep pace with the growth rate projected for the Austrian capital city.

Public utility network operator Wiener Netze and the relevant expert units of the Vienna City Administration, particularly the Vienna Waterworks (MA 31- Vienna Water) and the department for waste water management (Wien Kanal), will cooperate even more closely on joint infrastructure projects in the future. Since the new Vienna City Government was formed last year, all local services of general interest (SGIs) are part of a single Administrative Group.

Investments in local SGIs are known to create jobs and promote local businesses at the same time. Key infrastructure services will therefore remain under public management by the city.

"Investing in modern infrastructure makes Vienna fit for the future while also guaranteeing high quality of life and excellent ecological standards for generations to come”, says Ulli Sima, Executive City Councillor for Environmental Affairs and Public Utilities.

EUR 50 million per year for water provision

For many years now, MA 31 has coordinated the rehabilitation of the city’s vast water supply network, which comprises 3.000 kilometres of water pipes. Based on an internationally recognised six-pillar model, approximately 30 km of pipes are renewed or repaired every year. Total investments in Vienna’s water supply system add up to EUR 50 million per year. The six-pillar model consists of a Network Information System (NIS), comprehensive network monitoring, computer-aided evaluation of all information obtained, measures to promote trenchless rehabilitation methods, creating synergy effects by coordinating measures with other developers, and a stronger focus on infrastructure installations along main roads.

Trenchless pipe rehabilitation is favoured as an alternative to the conventional open cut method. Essentially, the new pipe is inserted directly into the old one, so it is no longer necessary to dig large-scale trenches. This method saves time, minimises traffic obstructions due to roadworks, and helps reduce costs by about one third.

Building projects in 2016

  • In 2016, water pipes will be renewed on Universitätsring and Schottenring, as well as on Neubaugürtel from Gablenzgasse to Felberstrasse.
  • new drinking water power plant on Schafberg will supply clean energy for about 130 households.
  • The water container at Kahlenberg will also be renewed in 2016.

Extending the sewer network to urban expansion areas

With a network comprising 2,400 km of sewer lines, Wien Kanal is Austria's largest sewer network operator. Half a billion litres of waste water per day are treated with eco-friendly methods at the Simmering Central Sewage Treatment Plant.

99.7 percent of all households in the city are connected to the public network - already a record share by international standards. To improve on this figure by a further 0.2 percent, the City of Vienna is set to invest approximately EUR 53 billion in building new public sewer lines that will enable another 1.200 households to use the public sewer network. By 2020, total investments in the Vienna sewer network will add up to EUR 80 million. In 2016, the main focus of work is on Vienna Central Station and the urban expansion area "aspern Die Seestadt Wiens".

Vienna’s sewer system

Rehabilitation programme to benefit future generations

An ambitious sewer rehabilitation programme is slated for implementation to keep up the high quality standards of the Vienna wastewater management system. First of all, experts need to assess the current state of repair of all sewers in Vienna, using cameras and specialised electronic devices to analyse the total 2,400 km of sewers within only six years.

Increased focus on rain water management due to climate change

Heavy rains and floods have become more frequent in Vienna, just as in many other cities. Wien Kanal has therefore invested EUR 30 million in building a new reservoir basin and two new sewer mains at the point of lowest elevation, Simmering. The basin is to be 90 metres long, 45 metres wide and 7 metres deep; it will be completed in 2016.

Simmering: Europe’s largest sewer construction project (in German)

The City of Vienna has also earmarked EUR 10 million for additional flood protection measures in the Wienerfeld area, providing modern waste water infrastructure and renewing the entire sewer network in the area. Three new underground reservoir basins with a total capacity of 1,2 million litres of rainwater will be built in the 10th and 23rd districts. Altogether, this will bring the city’s overall rainwater reservoir capacity to the equivalent of 26.000 bathtubs.

Wienerfeld sewer construction project (in German)

EUR 1 billion for modern electricity supply by 2020

The city’s public utility network operator Wiener Netze works to ensure safe and reliable energy supply throughout the Austrian capital and beyond. The public company operates and maintains 23,000 km of electricity cables, 4,670 km of gas pipes, a district heating network of 1,200 km, 2,000 km of fibre optic cables for as many as 1.6 million customers. By 2020, Wiener Netze has set aside a budget of over EUR 1 billion for measures that will make the city fit for its projected population growth, thereby safeguarding internal and external jobs in the long term.

Investing in energy networks: electricity, gas and distance heating

EUR 650 million of the budget set aside by Wiener Netze until 2020 will be used for rehabilitating and extending the key energy networks in Vienna, i.e. electricity, gas and distance heating. The large-scale modernisation of underground line U4 will account for approximately EUR 20 million, while EUR 48 million will be invested in the city’s distance heating network.

Planning ahead for a sustainable future

Sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power are environmentally friendly but require a high degree of network flexibility. Wiener Netze supports green technologies by using scientific research findings in order to prepare its energy networks for the integration of renewable energy sources. Vienna’s largest energy network operator is committed to remaining one of the most reliable energy suppliers in Vienna, with a supply security of 99.99 percent.

Vienna also has a modern biogas plant that produces biological methane from 22,000 tons of kitchen waste per year. The biogas is fed into the city’s regular gas supply network, making an active contribution to climate mitigation as this method helps avoid about 3,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

The same effect is reached by operating so-called Citizens’ Solar Power Plants – photovoltaic plants run by Wien Energie and financed via shares issued to the local population. By now, 23 of these green power plants have been linked up to the general energy supply network of Wiener Netze.

Maximising synergies

Thanks to the new structure of the Vienna City Administration, all central units and departments providing services of general interest (SGIs, e.g. water, energy supply) are now part of a single Administrative Group. Though the City Administration has always made use of synergies between the different services, their cooperation has now become even more effective. For instance, Wiener Wasser and Wien Kanal have merged part of their accounting and invoicing serves, thus saving substantial amounts of paper and money, while coordinated building site management for road installations minimises the need for road works.

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