In the case of an accidental water pollution, it is imperative to inform the affected downstream riparians as quickly as possible about this situation. This is why the International Warning and Alarm Plan Elbe (IWAPE) in 1991 was one of the first documents adopted by the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River (ICPER) immediately after its foundation in 1990.
The IWAPE is a uniform warning and alarm system for forwarding information regarding place, time and extent of an accident-related water pollution in the Elbe River basin. It is of extraordinary significance, particularly with regard to transboundary accidents.
Structure: The main structure of IWAPE is constituted by five International Main Warning Centres, one of them in the Czech Republic (Hradec Králové) and four in Germany (Dresden, Magdeburg, Potsdam and Hamburg). The messages are forwarded between the International Main Warning Centres according to a pre-defined relay system.
The IWAPE is constantly revised taking into account new findings and experience. Therefore it has been revised four times since 1991 (in 1995, 2004, 2006 and 2012).