Floodplain restoration along the lower Danube: A climate change adaptation case study

Ebert, S. et al. | Climate and Development | 2009 | Peer Reviewed | Original research | https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3763/cdev.2009.0022


Conversion of the Danube river floodplains through dyke construction for farming and other development has cut off 95, 75 and 28% of the floodplains of the upper Danube, the lower Danube and the Danube delta, respectively. Together with channelization, this has exacerbated flood peaks. Anthropogenic climate change is anticipated to bring more frequent flooding and reduced water quality. In assessing ongoing floodplain restoration work that commenced in 1993, this paper finds the following. (a) Along the lower Danube River, restoration of floodplains by decommissioning under-performing flood protection infrastructure has provided many benefits. The benefits of these adaptation measures include improved natural capacity to retain and release floodwaters and remove pollutants, enhanced biodiversity, and strengthened local economies through diversification of livelihoods based on natural resources. (b) The drivers for more successful adaptation measures in the Danube included EU expansion, legal mechanisms, and local desire to improve livelihoods. The support of non-governmental organizations (WWF and partner organizations) for basin- and regional-level planning for more effective water resource management has also been a powerful driver of policy change in the lower Danube countries.