Could Austrian schools be left without hot water this winter?

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Could Austrian schools be left without hot water this winter?
Salzburg is considering measures to cut down on energy usage (Photo by F Cary Snyder on Unsplash)

A Salzburg proposal has raised controversy in Austria, as parents fear children will be left with only cold water in schools and kindergartens.


Salzburg's government is considering keeping water cold in municipal buildings, including schools and kindergartens, Salzburger Nachrichten reported.

The measure would help the state reach the federal government's 11 percent energy savings goal.


With the changes, children in municipal facilities would only have cold water to wash their hands this winter. The cost-cutting measures were reportedly announced at a parents' evening by councillor Martina Berthold.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

"We are checking all areas where we can make savings," Berthold told Austrian media after saying she was "surprised" that the information had already made the news.

The Salzburg authorities asked all departments to indicate where hot water could be turned off as of this week, but the councillor added that there'd been no official feedback from school boards yet.

In a quick assessment, areas such as the fire brigade, sports facilities or schools with showers had been exempted in advance, she said. Special schools and the changing rooms of kindergartens were also included in the exceptions, according to SN.

READ ALSO: How people in Austria are reducing their energy consumption

"We will certainly not let any child freeze," Berthold said Sunday.

Austria's 'Mission 11' plan

Austria’s federal government in mid-September launched its “Mission 11” campaign intending to help the country’s residents reduce energy consumption by eleven percent.


At the time, the government announced several tips to keep houses warmer, save energy, and improve efficiency. The Climate Ministry also said a package of binding measures was being developed but didn't give more details.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

During the press conference, Minister Leonore Gewessler said that some binding measures could be reducing the room temperature in public buildings to 19C, but said that schools and hospitals would be exempt.

Among the voluntary suggestions that the government gave to people looking to save energy was the recommendation that, for short periods, such as when you need to brush your teeth or wash your hands, cold water be used.


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