Official expert activity

According to the Federal Agency Act, it is one of the tasks of the Institute to provide the highest water law authority with official experts in water law procedures, as far as personnel is available. Expert activities are a focal point of the activities of the Department of Water Ecology.

The work of official experts is a major focus of the activities of the Department of Water Ecology. The activities in this area include the technical assessment of reservoir draining and flushing, dredging in water bodies and the assessment of fish ladders both in water law licensing procedures and in acceptance test procedures of the Supreme Water Authority.

The majority of the official cases concern flowing waters and therefore the Department of Water Ecology is entrusted with this responsible task.

In principle, the official expert in administrative proceedings is obliged to tell the truth. His expert opinion, which is composed of the findings and the expert report drawn up on the basis of these findings, has the objective of providing the authority with a basis for decision-making as expert evidence. "According to the constant case law of the VwGH (Abbreviation for the German word “Verwaltungsgerichtshof”, translated in “Supreme Administrative Court”), the authority has to check the conclusiveness of the expert opinion, as well as whether it does not contradict the laws of reasoning." (Quote from Martin Attlmayr)

The typical questions posed by the water authority to the expert, requesting opinions after submission of the application file, are as follows:

  • Are the submitted documents sufficient to carry out the water law approval procedure?
  • Will public interests be affected by the project applied for or will foreign rights be infringed?
  • If so, can conditions be imposed to prevent the infringement?