Danube Flood Control Agency (DHK)

The Danube Flood Control Agency (Donauhochwasserschutz-Konkurrenz, abbr. DHK) was founded in 1927 as the legal successor of the Danube Regulatory Commission (Donauregulierungskommission) to preserve flood protection systems in Vienna and Lower Austria on the basis of a federal law.

der Marchfeldschutzdamm in Blickrichtung Marchmündung
Flood in September 2009: the Marchfeld protective dam in view of the mouth of the Morava River photo DHK

It consists of three parties: the Federal Government, the State of Lower Austria and the State of Vienna. It is chaired by the Federal Government via the BMK. The managing body is via donau – Österreichische Wasserstraßen-Gesellschaft, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Federal Ministry. As the managing body of the DHK, via donau is responsible for preventive and protective measures in the area of the DHK flood protection systems. This concerns structural precautions and renovations as well as the flood service.

The local area of effect of the DHK includes the course of the Danube from the confluence of the Ysper and the Danube to the state border at Devín, together with its tributaries, provided that they lie in the backwater area of the Danube floods.

The DHK maintains the protection structures and dam constructions from the confluence of the Ysper and the Danube at the border of Upper Austria and Lower Austria to the state border at Devín (confluence of the Danube and the Morava). In total, the dams are approximately 200 kilometres long, with around 60 culverts and sluices to be closed in the event of flooding. The operation and management of the associated plants and areas also fall within the competence of the DHK. In addition, 14 bridges, which are necessary for the accessibility of the dam facilities and therefore essential for the dam defence, are owned by the DHK.

Another task is the maintenance of the Danube Canal, which runs through the City of Vienna. It has a total length of 17 kilometres, from the intake structure at the Nussdorf weir to the mouth below the Freudenau power plant. In the wall area, both the quay walls on the water side and the ones on the street side with a total length of approximately 6.7 kilometres, together with the associated railings, ramps and stairs must be maintained and managed.
The DHK is also responsible for the Old Danube, with its water area of approximately 1.2 square kilometres, as well as the Nussdorf weir and lock. Another area of activity includes the management of the DHK properties.