Today we took part in a protest action against the expansion of the Kaunertal power plant in front of the TIWAG headquarters in Innsbruck together with the WWF Austria and the citizens‘ initiative Lebenswertes Kaunertal.
If, as planned, 80% of the water of the Venter Ache and Gurgler Ache rivers were to be diverted and thus taken away from the entire Ötz valley, this would mean the loss of one of the most important kayaking areas not only in Tyrol but in Europe. The Venter and Gurgler Ache form the Ötztaler Ache and supply it with the glacier water that gives the Ötz its character: large daily and seasonal fluctuations with a previously undisturbed and natural flow regime.
In spring the Ötztaler Ache offers an unparalleled selection of kayaking sections of any level of difficulty. In summer it offers world-class big water that cannot be found anywhere in Central Europe with such reliability. And in autumn, the Venter, Gurgler and Ötztaler Ache are the only rivers in the region that are sure to have water and offer first-class white water between grade II and V difficulty.
There is hardly a kayaker in Central Europe who has never been to the Ötztal, many have learned to kayak on the Ötztaler Ache, many – including world-class athletes – have moved to Tyrol because of the Ötztaler Ache. For the kayaking world, the expansion of the Kaunertal power plant means the loss of one of the most important kayaking areas in Europe and a cultural asset. That’s why WET will campaign against the Kaunertal Expansion and why we took part in the protest action today.
You can read more about the concerns of the citizens‘ initiative Lebenswertes Kaunertal, a summary of the problem on the platform „Flüsse voller Leben“ and the press release on today’s action from WWF Austria (all in german only).