Joint press release by German Environment Agency and German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)

Envisioned measures under the National Flood Control Programme are said to be effective

Simulations indicate severe flooding along Danube, Elbe and Rhine rivers could be considerably reduced in the event of a future emergency

Hochwasser-WarnschildClick to enlarge
Better supra-regional flood protection is within reach.
Source: Martina Berg / Fotolia

Better supra-regional flood protection is possible, say the results of a five-year research project carried out by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) on behalf of the German Environment Agency (UBA). The project evaluated the effectiveness of the envisaged measures in the national flood protection programme (NHWSP) for the Danube, Elbe and Rhine river basins. The measures would be able to reduce the water levels of future large floods by between 10 and 50 cm over long stretches, and even significantly more under certain circumstances. Overall, the NHWSP measures in all three river basins show considerable supra-regional effectiveness. The almost 70 measures examined include dike relocations, flood retention basins and polders which can provide the rivers with room to spread (floodplains) and, in some cases, absorb and retain considerable volumes of flood waves.

The devastating floods in summer 2013 in the Danube and Elbe basins linger in the memories of many people. The National Flood Protection Programme of the Federal Government and the Länder aims to provide better protection against such events to the populations in these regions and to minimise the potential damage done by future flooding. The aim of the programme is to accelerate the implementation of large-scale, supra-regional flood protection measures. The federal government therefore currently provides a sum of up to 100 million euros per year for the NHWSP's spatial measures and contributes to the costs of the notified flood protection measures of flood protection and also contributes to the costs incurred for recognised flood protection measures of the Länder.

The project researchers analysed the measures with the help of large-scale mathematical models. In close cooperation and coordination with the Länder, they set up joint model systems for the river basins, developed a uniform nationwide study approach and carried out comparable impact analyses in parallel in the three largest German river basins.

The results of the five-year research and development project have been compiled in separate reports for each of the three river regions and in a synthesis report.