ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine


Floods are natural water level fluctuations in rivers caused by great precipitations. They are due to different weather conditions and are part of the nature of a river. If man and his uses of water come too close to the water bodies, floods may cause damage. Nature does not know any damage – it only knows dynamics.

One of the reasons for extensive flooding during floods is the distinctly reduced water retention in the Rhine watershed and along the Rhine for which we are largely responsible ourselves.

Within holistic flood prevention and protection, the countries bordering the Rhine have since 1995 jointly worked on reducing damage and risks caused by floods. To this effect, extreme flood stages are to be reduced downstream the impounded section of the Upper Rhine.

A separate set of maps, the The Rhine Atlas (Flood Maps for the International River Basin District 'Rhine') due to extreme floods aims at drawing the attention of people along the Rhine to their personal risk and to possible damage to property during extreme floods.

Other efforts within flood protection aim at prolonging periods of flood forecasting with a view to avoiding potential damage.

First the Action Plan on Floods, then the International flood risk management plan and the programme “Rhine 2040” outline the need for action.

In their conference on October 18, 2007 the Rhine Ministers confirmed these targets and charged the ICPR to support the coordinated implementation of the Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks (2007/60/EG) in the international river basin district (IRBD) Rhine parallel to the implementation of the WFD. You can here find the results of the coordination and implementation works for this directive which have already begun. 

Did you know ...

that floods have always existed and will always exist?

Varying water levels and floods are part of the natural cycle.