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Overview of infrastructure adaptation measures and resulting discharge scenarios. ECCONET Deliverable 2.1.2 (2012)


This ECCONET report provides an overview of adequate options for infrastructure adaptation to climate change, in particular measures related to waterway maintenance and river engineering, focusing on the Austrian section of the Danube river. For the Austrian Danube, a future decrease of maintenance works by 40% compared to the current situation is expected in the future. In the case of a significant future change of the Danube´s water regime, the necessary maintenance activities might increase, especially in the case of increased severe flood events. This holds for other European waterways, too.

Extreme weather events have been occurring in the past and today. Waterway administrations can and must prepare dedicated adaptation strategies for the short-, medium and long-term perspective. Short-term adaptation measures mainly address continuous waterway maintenance activities: In case of changing water discharge patterns (e.g. altered seasonality of low water periods) the fairway maintenance cycle (surveying, dredging, provision of information) shall be accordingly adapted. One general adaptation measure for waterway administrations should be the continuous and differentiated monitoring and analysis of the development of the river’s water discharge regime. In order to better evaluate and recognise potential climate change effects, waterway administrations should develop additional indicators for alterations in the water discharge regime. Such indicators could include long-term seasonal analysis of the water discharge regime as well as a dynamic analysis of low water conditions: the lowest water levels within a series of consecutive days (e.g. 3, 5, 7, 10, 21 days).

Medium and long-term measures include structural modifications of river engineering parameters, as an adequate response to larger climatic changes. The adaptation of the waterway infrastructure via river engineering measures (e.g. groynes) should be undertaken on the basis of a continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of these elements, whereby the monitoring intervals have to be adjusted to the changes in the discharge regime and river morphology.

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