Only the beginning of summer – Neusiedler See: shallower than it has been in a long time

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There are no signs of relaxation at the Neusiedler See in Burgenland for the time being. This one is not as superficial as long time. The water level is currently 115 meters above the Adriatic Sea – and thus only four centimeters above the historic low of 2003.

The persistent heat with the accompanying strong evaporation and the wind have enormous effects on the lake. As reported, a strong storm only provided terrifying images of Lake Neusiedler See on the weekend. The bay in Breitenbrunn was almost completely drained and boats stranded on the bottom. While it’s only a short-term picture, the water returned as the storm abated, but water levels are of great concern.

Evaporation is common during the summer, with the lowest readings being recorded in the fall. But even now – at the beginning of the summer – the level is alarmingly low. As Christian Sailer of the head of water management department in the state of Burgenland explains. Last year the water level was 20 centimeters higher at the beginning of July and the long-term average was even 42 centimeters. The previous high in 1996 is a whopping 75 centimeters shorter – and the previous minimum in early July 2005 was 14 centimeters higher.

Risk of fire increases
According to Seiler, the risk of reed fires increases with the drought. Such a raged on the weekend – also in Breitenbrunn. The extinguishing work proved extremely difficult, the fire could only be fought from the air because the fire site was not accessible.
Because if the water recedes further, the reed belts are the first to dry – and can ignite quickly, for example, due to lightning or carelessness on the part of people.

This could cause the fire to spread more quickly due to a lack of water, says Sailer, who is also head of the “Task Force Neusiedler See-Seewinkel”. Water contamination is also possible. It’s not acute at the moment, but “you need to think about everything right now,” the expert says.

Longer and longer trails to deeper water
He currently sees no problems for the bathing season. But: “The ways to stand deep in the water are getting bigger and bigger,” he emphasized. Precipitation could bring relief, but it remains to be seen how the weather develops. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be another wet year,” Sailer said. But there are always surprises.

The task force is also working on a possible water supply from the Hungarian Moson-Danube, the planning for this is currently being prepared. State Councilor Heinrich Dorner (SP) announced last week that political talks with the neighboring country will soon take place.

Source: Krone

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