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Flood Protection

Flood protection issues have been an important part of the work activities of the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River (ICPER) since the mid-1990ies.

The first step was to analyse how floods occur, to elaborate a flood protection strategy and to survey the existing flood protection measures in the Elbe River basin. On this basis, the "Elbe Flood Protection Action Plan" was elaborated in July 2002, where the findings and experience acquired during the extreme flood in August 2002 were subsequently taken into account. This version was finally approved by ICPER in October 2003.

The most important objectives of the Elbe Flood Protection Action Plan:

  • Improving the water retention capacity of catchment areas, waters and floodplains
  • Protection of endangered areas by way of technical measures
  • Reducing the damage potential in the endangered areas (on the basis of mapped flood risks)
  • Perfecting flood forecast and warning systems
  • Improving the information of the general public, increasing flood awareness

Selected results from the final report till 2011:

  • Dykes were relocated at four sites and more than 650 ha of flooding area was restored.
  • 513 km of dykes were rebuilt or newly built. 18 new storage reservoirs with a retention volume of more than 30,000 m³ and a total of 10.2 million m3 flood retention space were built. The reservoir volume of new or upgraded storage dams and installations for improving water retention capacity is 71 million m³.
  • From the adoption of the action programme in 2003 till the end of 2011, the total investment in the Elbe River basin for technical flood protection in the Czech Republic was CZK 4.2 billion and €450 million for the rehabilitation of the Elbe dykes in Germany.
  • Thanks to the extension of the prognosis period in the Czech part of the river basin from 24 to 48 hours, the forecast period in Dresden has increased from 36 to 60 hours.
  • The flood protection measures finished in the years 2002 - 2011 provide protection for approx. 400,000 inhabitants.
  • The final report contains an overview of the results of the preliminary assessment of the flood risk in the Elbe River basin according to the Flood Risk Management Plan Directive.

The "Elbe Flood Protection Plan"has proved to be an excellent flood risk management instrument. Its thematic content and elements have been integrated and continued within the framework of the implementation of the European Flood Risk Management Directive.