There has been a long history of cooperation in Danube region stretching from the 17th century, but the first institutional framework for the joint measures for protecting the water environment was established under the Bucharest Declaration in the 1980s.
An important milestone was the signing of the Convention on Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River (Danube River Protection Convention, DRPC) in June 1994 in Sofia. The DRPC was created with an intention of intensifying cooperation in the field of water protection and water use between countries in the Danube basin.
Under auspices of this convention, the Joint Danube Survey (JDS) was launched. The JDS includes a series of scientific expeditions designed to explore a wide spectrum of multiple types of pollution in the whole reach of the Danube.
The foremost goal of this survey is to make a thorough analysis of water, sediments, river flora and fauna, as well as to check for as many polluting substances as possible.
Collecting such a homogenous data set produced by the best laboratories in the Danube River Basin is helping to identify and confirm specific pollution sources and their pathways. Joint participation of all countries sharing the Danube River on this research exercise is also providing an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and to harmonise the different monitoring procedures in use.
From August to September 2001, two ships equipped with accommodation and research facilities sailed from Regensburg, Germany, down to the Danube Delta carrying scientists from different countries who collected and analysed samples of water, sediment and suspended solids in order to obtain homogeneous data on the chemical and biological status of the Danube and its main tributaries.
The Survey was made possible by the generous financial support of the German government and a large contribution from the Austrian government. In-kind contributions came from other Danube Basin countries, and all riparian states contributed their scientific, logistical, managerial and other necessary expertise to make JDS a truly joint enterprise.
- The Survey provided a framework for harmonising sampling, and to certain extent also of analytical methodologies used among the different Danube countries through the cohesive team-work of the JDS scientists and the effective collaboration with the national scientific teams.
- All data and other sources received create multiple a solid base for measures translated into the Joint Danube Action Programme and Integrated River Basin Management Plans.
- The outcomes of the Survey served first of all as a basis for preparation of the Water Framework Directive Roof Report according to requirements of the WFD.
Importance of the case for IWRM
The results of the JDS have been taken as the basis for future activities of the ICPDR, specially focusing on:
- Measures to decrease nutrient input from agriculture
- Building of wastewater treatment plants with nitrogen and phosphorus removal
- Introduction of phosphate-free detergents
- Measures to decrease heavy metal pollution from the mining and metallurgy areas
- Intensification of the cooperation with the Danube Navigation Commission on reducing oil pollution from shipping
- Establishment of sediment quality targets
- Improvement of the Danube Trans-National Monitoring Network (TNMN)