ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

The Flood Forecasting Service Rhine-Saar (SPC Rhine-Saar)

In 2005, the Flood forecasting service Rhine-Saar (Service de Prévision des Crues Rhin-Sarre – SPC) was founded within the Service de la Navigation de Strasbourg (SNS). Today it is included in the Regional Directorate for Environment, Development and Housing of the Region Grand-Est (DREAL). Its area of competence covers the catchment areas of the (French part of the) Saar, the Alsatian tributaries of the Rhine (Ill and tributaries, Moder) and the Rhine constituting the German-French border between Basel and Lauterbourg.

As part of the the national “vigilance crue” system the SPC Rhine-Saar publishes at least two daily forecasting bulletins (and more often during floods). These bulletins are published online by the Central Service of Hydrometeorology and Support to Flood Forecasting (SCHAPI) at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the Vigicrues website (available on the website www.vigicrues.gouv.fr).

In these forecasting bulletins and depending on the gravity of predicted or ongoing floods, a colour code indicates the degree of vigilance required for each river section: Green (no vigilance required), yellow (flood risk, but no considerable damage), orange (flood risk with considerable impact on public life and the security of goods and people) and red (risk of considerable flood posing a direct and general risk for the security of goods and persons). Thus, the authorities and risk management actors may implement different measures.

The site www.vigicrues.gouv.fr also provides real-time access to water levels of the monitoring stations of the supervised network (see here).

Météo France  and Deutscher Wetterdienst - DWD deliver weather forecasts to the SPC Rhine-Saar in order for it to establish flood forecasting The SPC Rhin-Saar operates its own network of hydrometric and rainfall stations on its territory supplemented by German stations (Rhine and Blies/Saarland). Based on these input data, the forecasts of the SPC Rhine-Saar are carried out by different conceptual (GR) and physical (Larsim) models operated by numerous forecast stations of the Alsatian tributaries of the Rhine and on the Saar.

For flood surveillance and forecasting on the Rhine, the SPC Rhine-Saar mainly uses all the forecasts provided by the Flood announcement centre (HVZ) of Baden-Württemberg, the Swiss federal Office for Environment (FOEN) and also the various forecasts of Electricité de France (EDF).

Remark: The French part of the Meuse and the Moselle catchments are supervised by the Flood forecasting service Meuse-Moselle (Service de Prévision des Crues (SPC) Meuse Moselle) which is also part of the DREAL Grand-Est.