Scientists look at how the Danube can be sustainably managed. Like many heavily modified rivers, the Danube faces major environmental challenges, such as sedimentation and erosion. Scientists from Austria and Slovakia want to provide solutions.
Katarina Holubova, Water Research Institute, Bratislava said “Each intervention into the river system causes some changes."
"Since the rivers were changing from free meandering into the regulated rivers, influenced by regulation, by dams, by other engineering structures, their shape and behavior have been changing. And in order to understand what is ongoing in the river, it is necessary to understand flow dynamics and sediment transport because they change,” explained Holulbova.
Christine Sindelar, Head of Hydraulics Laboratory, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna said “When we started to build our hydropower plants, our barriers in the river we were not aware of the sediment issues."
"So a few decades ago suddenly we realized that we have a huge problem in the reservoirs, with too many sediments, but further downstream these sediments are missing and the river starts to degrade slowly, but steadily”.
“The results of our project can contribute to the improvement, said Holubova, "because we will be able to propose sediment management which is necessary to improve navigation and all water uses connected with the Danube here, but also ecology which is very important.”