So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

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Thomatal Kraftwerk

A powerstation or kraftwerk is going to be built in the field below our house. On the spot in this picture,you can see our sitting room window through the trees.

We were invited to a meeting to convince us that no one will hear the turbine. Then we all met in the field site.

Now I must eat my words! I’ve always said there should be small power stations on rivers, imagining a rustic looking shed with a little turbine. This will run from a pond further up the valley, with a pipe running down the road and dropping to us, where the turbine will be.

Apparently all the landowners have agreed, so it’s as good as settled, however much we may protest. They’re onto a nice earner.

There is an industrial precedent here, this is the old weir in the field that used to run to fill the water conduit for the old paper mill.

With a heavy heart, there is nothing we can do. If this was the UK, we could probably claim compensation for noise and loss in value of our house! They said my water meter reading job remains, but I am doubtful.

Poor Thomatalbach, what will happen when we have a dry summer or what will be the effect on the eco system?


The river Mur

Before - picture swiped from

 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.


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