So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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More Floods

A week to the day, the rains came down again.  I came home at Eleven on Saturday night and it had just started raining, at Six am the next morning the siren went off.  Great.  I staggered to the window and couldn’t believe how high the Mur was.  When I surfaced properly an hour later, we could see the Fire-engine across the river, there must have been a landslide. 

Not much ater we were out photoing  and could see the river had dropped a bit, but it was over the access to our local bridge, we haven’t seen that since 2007.  The day was grey, so we imagined that the worst was over, and decided to take the train into Tamsweg and walk back and take some more photos. No train, so we popped around to the neighbours on the other side of the river, to find the daft Firemen had taped off their road so technically they couldn’t drive out!  Obviously forgotten the holiday house.  It seemed the whole Murweg was shut as a precaution. As we left, the rain came down again and lasted for the rest of the day, so we shopped and came home to watch DVDs for the rest of the day -enforced idleness!!!!!!!!

By evening, we heard reports that one village in Steiermark had been practically washed away, and Graz itself was under flooding threat. Many of the smaller tales no doubt not making the news, but even the Army was drafted into help in St Lorenzen, and they were already talking about if it is worthwhile to rebuild.  It seems Austria has an emergency fund for such disasters. Poor folks.

Sunday was a bit better and the river was dropping.  Dave and I went down to Kreischberg  to the local power station on the Mur.  All the gates were open, and it was quite uncanny so see a normally flooded stretch now a quarter full.  There was a lot of silt, and strangely a strong smell of ozone, quite nostalgic for the sea!

Lets hope its the last of this  weather, the air this morning had that wonderful coolness to it. I don’t like the heat, funny when we came here, I expected to be permanently cold!!!!!


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The river Mur

Before - picture swiped from http://www.lebensader-mur.at

 The local power company, Salzburg AG wants to install a power station on the river that flows past our house, the Mur.  The river has already near its source near Zederhaus, two stations.  A gravity one with turbines and  a power station with a reservoir.  Further down the valley, near Murau there is another power station right across the river with turbines, so I guess there is a precedent.

After

The river begins in the Lungau and is the second biggest river in Austria, and runs through Graz and then into Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary then into the Danube and the Black sea.  In Austria there runs a 365km bike path alongside and locally much is made of the main Lungau river and its beauty and natural ness and so on and so forth. This year, Lungau becomes what I roughly translate a Biological Park because of its pure water, air and land…..

The Mur runs past our house with a waterfall on a bend and in the summer we hear the screams of white water rafters as they go down.  Earlier, there was a small water power station here for the large paper factory, which now makes wood and concrete building blocks.  It consisted of an open leat which then went into a pipe just where the Thomotalerbach river joins it.  Kids used to swim in it despite the danger, but now you can just see the footings of it, since the road has been widened. When it was built, the paper factory was innovative in that it offered its workers accommodation,  childcare and support.  Our house in one of the two accommodation blocks built in the 1930s.

So maybe there is a case for another power station. They want to build this at Kendlbruck at near us, piping the water through the hill from Tamsweg, using turbines I suppose. The local upcry is huge and the meeting in Ramingstein  made the ORF news last week. It seems most of the politicians are against it to.

Now, I’ve never wanted to be a NIMBY, but when Linda came round with a petition, Dave and I realised we needed to decide. I’ve always felt the water power here could be used more, but they don’t seem to think of small units powering a few houses or a village but these big ones which do have an effect on the environment.  Maybe the small ones aren’t cost-effective but there are abandoned old mills all through this valley.

As  you know, I spend too much time looking out my window at the Mur, and even I can see that most of the year, the river (except when flooding, or with snow melt), runs at a lower level than earlier, because of the patterns in the stones and on the banks. Maybe its climate change (No, I’m not getting into all that stuff) or possibly  further up the reservoir takes out too much, maybe this should be addressed.  If they take water out here to fill the tunnel, even I can see that the river level will drop considerably, with effects all the way down the length – what will they do at the power station at Murau?

So in the light of this and we think that it should be small mills that just divert the water, Dave and I have signed the partition. On travelling to Keep fat last night, I suddenly felt if I had said I was for the station, I would have been chucked out the car and told to walk, local feelings are running high!

For those who can read German

http://www.lebensader-mur.at