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 (what is more generally referred to as "flood risk management"), the countries bordering the Rhine have since 1995 jointly worked on reducing damage and risks caused by floods. In 2007, the ICPR was mandated to support the coordinated implementation of the "EU Flood Risk Management Directive (FD)" in the Rhine catchment (see results here) in a similar way to the implementation of the WFD. First the Action Plan on Floods, now the International flood risk management plan and the programme “Rhine 2040” outline the need for action. Examples of important joint and transboundary measures are:

  • The ICPR Rhine Atlas (flood maps): a set of maps which sensitises people living along the Rhine to their own personal vulnerability and possible damages to property in case of floods.
  • Continuous improvement of flood forecasting and warning in order to reduce potential damage.
  • Strengthen water retention: Giving more space to the river wherever possible.

Did you know ...

that floods have always existed and will always exist?

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