Rhine River Wins European River Prize

Posted: 2013-09-19

The winner of the first IRF European River Prize is the Rhine River. The winner was announced at the European River Restoration Conference in Vienna on 12 September 2013. GWP is one of the organisers and financial sponsors of the prize.

The River Rhine received the award for successful results in implementation of integrated river basin management. The Rhine River has changed from a devastated sewage channel to a living river. This took more than 50 years of significant investments and political commitments of five well economically developed countries.

Gheorghe Constantin, Water Director of Romanian Ministry of Environment, said in his introductory speech: “River restoration is difficult financially, but even more difficult politically. Restoring floodplains also means to give up economic (industry or agriculture) activities in favour of the ecosystem. In addition, river restoration investments compete with other water infrastructure investments.”

In 1986, the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) was established. This allowed for a coordinated involvement of stakeholders in the basin that have successfully implemented urban wastewater management strategies and dramatically improved the water quality of the Rhine. In the past 15 years, the adoption of new, integrated policies has also resulted in the restoration of a substantial area of floodplains in the densely populated Rhine delta.

The European Riverprize event was initiated by the International Commission for Protection of Danube Basin (ICPDR) together with the European River Restoration Centre (ERRC) and International River Foundation (IRF). In 2012, GWP committed to be one of the organsing partners to the prize.

The conference gathered more than 250 participants from about 30 countries.

Photo: EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik spoke at the event.

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