Just as floods, low flows are natural, evident events that cannot be avoided. Low water may considerably restrict navigation on the Rhine. The performance of hydropower plants may equally be reduced in times of low discharge. Besides, low flows often go hand in hand with high temperatures, leading to reduced oxygen content which may have negative impact on the ecosystem. The Rhine States are therefore giving more attention to the topic of low flows.
The ICPR (Expert group “Low water”) is analysing past low flows events (see for example the report on the low water 2011) and investigating the consequences of low water on different uses of the Rhine. The international symposium „Low flows in the Rhine catchment” took place on September 20-21, 2017 in Basel.
The ICPR drew up and published 2018 a major inventory of low water conditions and situations of the Rhine (see report 248 and summary in English). Further the ICPR is working on setting up a low water monitoring network.