Styrian Wasser.Wander.Wunder-Weg project wins Neptun State Prize

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Children posing with Cartoon statue in front of a mountain landscape

On March 15, 2023, the Neptune Water Prize winners, including the Neptune State Prize, were announced by Federal Minister Norbert Totschnig, along with the partners of the Neptune State Prize for Water and other Austrian water representatives. Participants competed in five categories: WasserGEMEINDE, WasserWIEN, WasserFORSCHT, WasserBILDUNG, and WasserKREATIV, with prizes awarded every two years to outstanding water-related projects.

More than 650 entries were received for this year's Neptune Water Prize, 280 of which were in the three specialist categories, awarded with €5,000: WasserFORSCHT, WasserBILDUNG, and WasserKREATIV. Specialist juries nominated nine projects from the specialist categories for the main Neptun State Prize - a public online vote then determined the final winner. With over a thousand votes, the Wasser.Wander.Wunder-Weg of the Zentral-Wasserversorgung Hochschwab Süd prevailed in a close race for the Neptun Main Prize and was granted € 3,000. 

For 30 years, the central water supply Hochschwab south (ZWHS) has supplied the Styrian central area with high-quality drinking water from the Hochschwab region. The Wasser.Wander.Wunder-Weg project of the ZWHS, with its eight information stations, shares facts about drinking water with visitors in a fun way. Roland Hohenauer, president of the Austrian water and waste management association (ÖWAV), congratulated the Zentralwasserversorgung Hochschwab saying, "The Wasser.Wander.Wunder-Weg very impressively shows how one can explain the topic of water understandably and entertainingly, particularly for young people and children. Thank you for this commitment, and congratulations on the Neptun main prize."

Other winners included the cross-border Interreg project "Malšemuschel" in the WasserFORSCHT category which honors outstanding research projects on water topics, Regina Hügli's photographs "Auf des Wassers Scheide - Lichtzeichnungen der europäischen Hauptwasserscheide" ("On the Water's Shed - Light Drawings of the Main European Water Divide") in the WasserKREATIV category, which awards contemporary works of architecture, literature, arts and media, the municipality of Öblarn's interactive demonstration model "Wassererlebnis Öblarn" (Water Experience Öblarn) in the WasserBILDUNG category, for initiatives, projects, and activities contributing to water protection and sustainability through education, the municipality of St. Michael im Lungau’s restoration projects (Mur island, Mur widening, and Mur meander) in the WasserGEMEINDE category, which awards regional water projects, and finally the WasserWIEN photo and video category under this year's motto "150 Years of Viennese Water" was awarded to Lukas Ortner-Bast with the photograph "Trinkbrunnen im Augarten" (Drinking Fountain in the Augarten).

About the Award

The Neptun State Prize for Water aims to increase awareness of the importance of water as a resource and support innovative ideas for the careful use of this precious resource. The Neptun Prize is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML), the Austrian Gas and Water Association (ÖVGW), the Austrian Water and Waste Management Association (ÖWAV), and the participating federal states. 
Additional sponsorhip for individual categories include:  the City of Vienna/MA 31 Wiener Wasser (categories WasserWIEN and WasserFORSCHT), Zwettl brewery (art category WasserKREATIV), VERBUND AG (WasserBILDUNG) and Kommunalkredit Public Consulting the (WasserGEMEINDE category)