Alluvial areas are essential for the Rhine ecosystem, but also for man. They represent valuable nature resources and act as natural flood buffers. They increase water retention and are thus the best means of flood prevention.
Reactivating floodplains along the Rhine and reconnecting alluvial waters are two important measures aimed at ecologically upgrading the Rhine.
The ICPR programme „Rhine 2020“ for a sustainable development of the Rhine includes targets to reactivate 160 km² of floodplain along the Rhine and in the lowlands of the Rhine and 1 000 km² in the entire Rhine watershed and to renature 11.000 km of flowing waters by 2020. Furthermore, 100 old water courses of the Rhine and backwaters are to be reconnected by 2020.
A first balance revealed that the intermediate targets set for 2005 had been achieved. By 2012, about 122 km² of alluvial areas along the Rhine had been reactivated and 80 old water courses of the Rhine and backwaters had been reconnected.