Based on the ICPR programme on the sustainable development of the Rhine, „Rhine 2020“ and the obligation of the EU states to coordinate the implementation of the Floods Directive (FD) and of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in the international river basin district (IRBD) Rhine (part A; catchments > 2,500 km²) the Working Group ‘Flood and Low water’ (H) is entrusted with:
• The coordinated implementation of the Floods Directive (FD) in the IRBD Rhine (part A) in agreement with the ICPR bodies coordinating the implementation of the WFD;
• The coordinated follow-up and assessment of the Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) in the IRBD Rhine
• The participation in work regarding the effects of and adaptation to climate change, taking into account the guidelines of the Floods Directive and of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy of the IRBD Rhine;
• The examination and assembly of new investigation results on climate change (in the IRBD Rhine) and eventual quantitative effects;
• The assembly of available knowledge on past events of Low water in the Rhine
• The assembly of existing national surveillance/monitoring, prevention and management activities concerning the issue of Low water; if required, prepare possible future activities at the level of the IRBD Rhine.
The president of the Working Group H regularly reports on the state of work and eventual problems to the Strategy Group SG and/or the subordinate Strategy Group SG-K. Among other things, this enables coordination with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in the Rhine catchment (second Management Plan for the IRBD Rhine) and eventually other EU Directives.
The individual tasks of the WG H concern:
I. Exchange of information and coordination when implementing the EC Floods Directive in the IRBD Rhine (catchment > 2,500 km², part A) including surveillance, implementation and assessment of the Flood Risk Management Plan in the IRBD Rhine (see Flood Risk Management Plan, Chapter 5)
The first Flood Risk Management Plan for the IRBD Rhine (part A) concerns the period 2016-2021.
Within its mandate and according to the FD:
• The WG H reviews the preliminary flood risk assessment and updates it as required until 2018; The likely impact of climate change on the occurrence floods shall be taken into account in the next review
• The WG H will review the flood hazard and risk maps by end 2019 and update them; if required, the WG H will also update the Rhine Atlas 2015 based on national findings in connection with the implementation of the Floods Directive. Minor updates may be made once a year.
• The WG H will take over the surveillance and evaluation of the coordinated implementation of the Flood Risk Management Plan and regularly check on progress due to measures taken within the Flood Risk Management Plan (see Chapter 5 of the Flood Risk Management Plan including Annex 2 and 8). Furthermore, the total effects of the measures of the Flood Risk Management Plan (see Chapter 4 of the Flood Risk Management Plan) are determined which are implemented in national responsibility within the 1st cycle of the Flood Risk Management.
• The WG H and its expert groups base the evaluation of the implementation of the Flood Risk Management Plan on existing methods and instruments, among others the recently developed instrument of the EG HIRI. Methods developed and first results for the quantification of the effects of implemented and planned measures have already been included into the first Flood Risk Management Plan for the IRBD Rhine (see Annex 2 and 8).
• On the basis of the afore mentioned work the WG H will draft the second Flood Risk Management Plan by December 22, 2021 (draft: 22 December 2020; period 2022-2027) and update the first Flood Risk Management Plan as required. When reviewing the Flood Risk Management Plan, the likely impact of climate change on the occurrence of floods shall be taken into account.
II. Effect of climate change and adaptation to climate change
• Plan and organise an ICPR workshop (presumably in 2017) presenting national investigations and eventual further development of climate scenarios and knowledge on the effects of climate change;
• If the ICPR considers it to be necessary, it will update the knowledge on the effects of climate change (discharge modifications, risks of floods and low flows) and the possibilities of reducing effects of climate change in the field of flood risk management and Low water risk management;
• When reviewing the preliminary assessment of flood risk and of the Flood Risk Management Plan, the WG H shall take into account the likely impact of climate change on the occurrence of floods which are described in the ICPR Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
III. Low water
The issue of Low water should be treated in the following steps:
1. Survey of knowledge on Low water in the IRBD Rhine
2. Establish a monitoring of Low water in the IRBD Rhine
Based on the above described hydrological work on the issue of Low water, the next relevant steps will be determined within the ICPR Strategy Group, in order to obtain a holistic consideration/assessment of Low water and its effects, including aspects of quality and use.
When accomplishing the tasks in connection with flood risk management and Low water management, the WG H is being supported by different expert groups and an information platform (e.g. with representatives of flood forecasting centres).
Following decisions of the WG H, the below mentioned groups contribute to evaluating the implementation of the Flood Risk Management Plan and/or answer to technical questions of the WG H. The presidents regularly report to the WG H about the state of work and eventual problems encountered.