Water supply: One of the most important infrastructural tasks, particularly of the municipalities, is to supply people and industry with drinking water (Drinking Water Supply) and water for industrial purposes. In earlier times people generally used wells and springs to cover their individual needs. Although the Romans had already used central water supply systems, the first water pipelines were not established in Austria until the 18th century and a large number of them have only been set up since the second half of the 19th century. The most extensive systems are the two Vienna Spring Water Supply Systems run by the City of Vienna. Smaller towns and cities also built central water systems already before World War I. Checks on the hygienic quality of the water were extended to small villages after World War II; in 1997, 87 % of the Austrian population had direct access to central water systems.
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