The Deepening of the Mura River has Not Stabilised
The Institute for Water has completed the study Assessment of the Status of the Mura River Border and Inner Section Including Planned Measures. The Slovenian analysis of the border section served as the bases for the presentation of positions at the bilateral commission of Slovenia and Austria. The report was updated with this year’s measurements, which confirm the previous findings of the Institute experts indicating that the deepening of the Mura River has not stabilised. The findings are based exclusively on analyses of the measurements of the river’s profile, water levels and flow rates of the Mura River and the groundwater levels. The measuring has been implemented in accordance with the requirements of the Permanent Slovenian-Austrian Commission for the Mura River since 1979, but they, until now, have not been systematically analysed by the Slovenian side, which would enable determining the actual state of the Mura River and its trend of change.
The construction of hydro-electric power plants on the Austrian side of the Mura River is affecting the retention and settling of sediments. The velocity of the river is increasing, speeding up the removal of the sediment, which may result in erosion of the main riverbed structure unless measures are taken to stabilise it. This is related to the problem of the nearby groundwater aquifers drying up – the groundwater level is decreasing, leaving wetlands dry as well. This puts the drinking water in the Pomurje region at risk both in terms of quantity and quality due to decreased infiltration into soil and consequently a decreased self-cleaning capacity of the groundwater aquifer. Based on measurements and data, the study therefore demonstrates that it is urgent to take measures concerning the Mura River in order to prevent its riverbed from deepening any further and thereby stabilise the hydrological and hydromorphological characteristics of both the Mura River and the groundwater aquifer.