The project aimed to contribute through research to the development of a resilient strategy for flood management in the Rhine Basin, and to provide recommendations on how to implement such a strategy. Research activities included investigating the possibilities to match increased room for the river and spatial planning behind the dikes at the lowest possible costs (damage).
The high flooding of the Rhine River in 1993 and 1995, in combination with the growing awareness of global climate change, has made the public and respective authorities realise that flood protection cannot continue to be maintained by endlessly increasing the height of dikes.
Instead, more room should be given to the river in order to allow it to discharge more water at a lower water level.
Recent studies have shown that a significant rest risk remains when the measures are limited to the floodplain and the riverbed.
A computational framework was compiled to assess the flooding pattern and depth, the flood damage and the downstream effects of controlled flooding.
This framework was based on a Geographic Information System and one and two dimensional hydraulic models. For the evaluation of different alternatives the cost-benefit ratio is not the only criterion. Other criteria such as robustness, flexibility, economic development, and protection and development of landscape, natural and cultural values were also be taken into account.
The assessment of the required room for the rivers focused not only on the scientific evaluation of alternatives, but also revealed how room for the river can be ensured including public awareness raising, institutional and legal matters.
These aspects were dealt with in three pilot studies, in which the investigations focused on the possibilities and problems of the implementation of the proposed measures at a local level. In these pilot studies close co-operation was sought out with local authorities and stakeholders, such as water boards, municipalities and inhabitants.
The results of the project were published in a number of scientific journals.