ICPR - innovative assessment tool concerning the effectiveness of flood prevention measures

A new ICPR tool is able to produce a quantitative proof of the effectiveness of flood prevention measures along the Rhine. Calculations show that the ambitious target defined in the Action Plan on Floods in 1998, to reduce flood risk by 25 % between 1995 and 2020 will be achieved with the measures already taken and those planned until 2020. This tool might also be of interest to other river basin commissions. Upon request, the ICPR will make the recently developed tool and the methods it is based on available to other states, resp. their authorities or scientific organisations.

There are further steps towards ecological river continuity: For the first time, in 2015, more than 200 salmon migrated upstream the fish passage Iffezheim on the Upper Rhine. Recently, the third big fish passage at the Strasbourg impoundment on the Upper Rhine entered into service. Since May 2016, fish migration between the North Sea and Lake IJssel has been distinctly improved due to a new fish passage and fish-friendly operation of tidal gates and locks.

Echternach, 7 and 8 July 2016
Among others, the following important issues were discussed during the ICPR Plenary Session in Echternach/Luxembourg: An assessment tool to determine the quantitative effectiveness of flood prevention measures, issues concerning the ecological river continuity for fish and the planning of work during the period 2016-2021.

The reduction of flood risks by 25 % between 1995 and 2020 for economic activities has been proved with the help of the ICPR assessment tool. Under a supra-regional aspect, this means: In particular measures increasing water retention in the direct vicinity of the river Rhine, e.g. the construction of flood retention areas, the relocation of dikes and measures giving more room to the river prove to be most efficient. And with more often occurring smaller and medium floods due to climate change they will, in future, become even more important. With the help of this tool it has also been possible to show that securing and evacuating people concerned by floods plays an important role in flood risk reduction. The report on the application of this tool along the Rhine includes a transparent presentation of the advantages and issues still to be improved.

For the first time, more than 200 salmon migrated upstream through the Iffezheim fish passage on the Upper Rhine in 2015. More than 700 salmon mature to spawn have been detected in the entire catchment on their way towards their home waters. This is good news, just as the fact that the fish passage at Strasbourg started operating in May 2016 and thus opens another section of the Upper Rhine. A project group established for the issue of the river continuity of the Upper Rhine in 2015 continues to intensively discuss a sustainable technical solution for the restoration of the ecological continuity in the river section at Vogelgrün/Breisach and at the Rhinau and Marckolsheim impoundments. Achieving the ecological continuity of this important section of the Rhine would equally represent a positive contribution to increasing species diversity.

Furthermore, the ICPR updated its working plan for activities during 2016-2021 and added new tasks. According to this plan, in future, the ICPR will also be treating the issue of low flow in the Rhine catchment.

Further Information

International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)
Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig
Mobile: +49-151-17520589

Short Information

As Rhine bordering countries, Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well
as Luxemburg and the European Community co-operate within the International
Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) on the basis of a treaty under
international law. The President (at the time being Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt from the
Netherlands) and the different ICPR fora are supported by the international staff of the
permanent secretariat in Koblenz (Germany). Furthermore, the secretariat gives support
to the countries in the Rhine watershed when implementing the European Water
Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and the European Directive on the
Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (Directive 2007/60/EC). To this end, crossborder
co-operation was extended to Austria, Liechtenstein and the Belgian region
Wallonia. The working languages of the ICPR are German, French and Dutch. For detailed
information on the ICPR please browse to the ICPR website: