LIFE-URBANLAKE - Integrated Lake Management of the Urban Lake "Alte Donau"

LIFE12 ENV/AT/000128

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Gerhard BLÖSCHEL
Tel: +43-1-400096503
Fax: +43140009996503
Email: post@m45.magwien.gv.at

Project description:


The “Alte Donau”, the former riverbed of the Danube in Vienna, Austria, extends to 160 ha and is one of Europe’s largest urban lakes. It is fully embedded in the city landscape and used intensively for recreation and anthropogenic purposes. These activities exert increasing pressure on the environmental quality of the water body, especially as the city’s population continues to grow at a rapid rate. The number of swimmers using the lake has increased by 97% since 1988, and the city’s planners forecasts that some 8000 new residents will move into the lakeside area over the next few years.

Due to this increased stress (and also including uncertainties associated with climate change), there is a need to introduce new urban management measures that will help to safeguard the quality of this water body for the long-term.


The LIFE-URBANLAKE project intends to define strategies to reduce the vulnerability of the “Alte Donau” to the effects of climate change and anthropogenic pressures. The strategies will focus on maintaining the lake’s current good environmental status and bathing water quality. Integrated lake management and risk management systems will be deployed as part of the strategies and these will comprise innovative methods for holistic governance of the water resource, as well as its ecologic and socio-economic environment.

Support to facilitate the putting in place of highly competent staff, and rapid, cost-effective counter-measures for tackling potential disruptions are envisaged. A key goal of the project will also be to improve stakeholder support for and participation in the lake’s management.

Specific objectives include: 1. Implementation and demonstration of integrated lake management in an intensively used urban environment, in the context of the city’s governance practices. 2. Reduction of the vulnerability of the “Alte Donau” to climate change impacts and other anthropogenic pressures. 3. Maintaining and ensuring good ecological status (in relation to the Water Framework Directive) and good quality bathing water (Bathing Water Directive) through the implementation of innovative technologies and methods, adapted to the special conditions of the “Alte Donau”s urban environment. 4. Achieving and maintaining a stable aquatic environment in an intensively-used urban environment through sustainable management procedures. 5. Maintaining and improving the socio-economical benefits for the city population and other stakeholders.

Expected results: Anticipated outcomes of the project include the accelerated implementation of integrated approaches to the lake’s management, in order to reduce risks and achieve good ecological status and good quality bathing water. The latter will be based on achieving targets for phosphorus content (15 - 25 µg/l), pH (8.5-9.2), macrophytes growth (increase from 75 % to 80 - 85 %, with >300 tonnes dry mass) and diversity (e.g. Characee from 1 - 2 % to > 10 %). Benefits in terms of eutrophication, fish populations and shore restoration are also expected as a direct result of the project.

Work will also be carried out to help start long-term restoration processes along around 33 % of the total shore length.

Other benefits will include:

  • An improvement in the ability of the water body’s environment to recover rapidly after construction activities;
  • Financial savings of 20-30% on costs associated with mowing around the lake;
  • A socio-economic impact assessment will include findings about recreational gains that result from improved access, fewer barriers, and a higher degree of user satisfaction.



Environmental issues addressed:


Services & Commerce - Sports and Recreation activities
Climate change Adaptation - Natural resources and ecosystems


environmental impact of recreation‚  integrated management‚  urban area‚  bathing water‚  water quality

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Stadt Wien, Magistratsabteilung 45 - Wiener Gewässer
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The public sector beneficiary is the Vienna city government department responsible for the city’s water bodies.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE12 ENV/AT/000128
Duration 01-JUL-2013 to 30-MAR -2018
Total budget 3,616,050.00 €
EU contribution 1,637,900.00 €
Project location Wien(Österreich)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version