Managing Floods in Large River Basins in Europe: The Rhine River

  • Laurent Schmitt
  • Dale Morris
  • G. Mathias Kondolf


While not among the globe’s largest rivers in terms of discharge, the Rhine has assumed outsized importance due its role in history and as the spine of Western Europe, with an extraordinary concentration of population and industry, and consequently profound anthropic modifications. Floods have always plagued the Rhine, but twentieth-century corrections of the river increased the flood risk by taking away the river’s natural floodplain storage areas. These are being restored along the Upper Rhine with multiple projects to reconnect bypassed sections of the river and allow frequent flooding of polders, projects that not only reduce flood risk but also restore habitat and water quality. Similarly, in the Rhine Delta, the celebrated “Room for the River” projects have taken back some of the river’s floodplain areas as a way to accommodate flood flows and restore lost habitats.


Rhine River Restoration Upper Rhine Room for the River Rhine Delta Floods Directive 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Schmitt
    • 1
  • Dale Morris
    • 2
  • G. Mathias Kondolf
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.University of StrasbourgStrabourgFrance
  2. 2.Embassy of NetherlandsWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.University of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.University of LyonLyonFrance

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