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UNW-DPC International Workshop Institutional Capacity Development in Transboundary Basins Lessons learned from practical experiences 10 – 12 November 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "UNW-DPC International Workshop Institutional Capacity Development in Transboundary Basins Lessons learned from practical experiences 10 – 12 November 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNW-DPC International Workshop Institutional Capacity Development in Transboundary Basins Lessons learned from practical experiences 10 – 12 November 2008 Bonn, Germany From the most Romantic Sewer in Europe to a Living River - The Rhine Case - Dr. Fritz Holzwarth Deputy Director General German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

2 Rhine river basin in Europe

3 Characteristics of the river and the basin 3rd biggest European river –after Volga and Danube –1320 km length of the Rhine stream –navigable length: 825 km Glacier and snow fed 9 countries in the catchment –Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands and EU Catchment area: km² 58 million inhabitants Drinking water for 20 million people

4 Countries in the river basin

5 Development of the Rhine hydromorphology

6 Situation in the 1970s In the midth of the 20th century the chemical and ecological status of the Rhine had deteriorated dramatically –industrial development –increase of agricultural production more fertilizers 1935 the salmon had disappeared –only 20 fish species left Since the 1950s it had been more and more difficult to use the Rhine as drinking water ressource –phenol pollution –too salty

7 First steps 1948 international salmon conference –too late 1950 establishment of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine 1976 Chemical and chloride conventions –reduction of cadmium, mercury etc. –reduction of salt discharges from the salt mines 1970 – 1990 more than 40 billion € invested to build waste water treatment plants

8 Water Quality in the 1970s and its development at the monitoring stations Weil (yellow) Coblence (red) Bimmen/Lobith (violet)

9 1986: Fire at Sandoz, Schweizerhalle (CH) Fire in a chemical storage facility l of water for firefighting were discharged in the river –20 tons of mercury and pesticides Nearly all fishes, especially eels died Drinking water facilities were shut down for 18 days Ca. 90 million € damages

10 Sandoz follow up: First Rhine Action Programme 1987 – 2000 –new or improved waste water treatment plans 95 % connected municipalities and industrial sites, 10% improvement –storage facilities for firefighting water at all industrial sites –secure storage of dangerous substances –warning and alarm system –around 13 billion € invested, mostly for waste water treatment Results –considerable improvement of water quality 70 – 100 % reduction of the problematic substances –considerable reduction of accidents –recovering of the Rhine fauna with 63 species the fish fauna is nearly restored the salmon as „Rhine Symbol“ is back due to the salmon 2000 initiative

11 Fishes in the River Rhine without treatment treatment and monitoring

12 Current tasks in the Rhine basin Second Rhine Action programme –2000 – 2020 –sustainable development of the river improvement of ecosystems –e.g. self-sustaining salmon population improvement of water quality groundwater protection flood prevention EC Water Framework Directive –good status of all water bodies in principle until 2015 –first international river basin management plan until December 2009 –national programmes of measures –transboundary coordination and cooperation

13 Today’s water management issues in the Rhine basin To restore free migration –through the rivers and to increase the habitat diversity along the waters To reduce diffuse pollution –in particular from nutrients, plant protective agents, metals, dangerous substances derived from historic pollution To further reduce point source pollution –in particular due to industrial and municipal inputs To harmonize water uses and environmental objectives –navigation, hydropower, flood protection and others

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15 Rhine flood action plan Targets –reduce damage risks 2005: 10%, target: 25% (2020) –reduce high-water levels 2005: 30%, target: 70% (2020) –increase flood awareness e.g. via flood risk maps, Rhine flood atlas –improve flood forecasting system First evaluation report –it is difficult to achieve the targets –new EC flood directive has to be taken into account

16 Rhine Flood Atlas Flood risk maps From Lake Constance to the North Sea 34 maps, 1: Information on damage risks Awareness raising

17 Thank you for your attention!


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