U.S.- Italy Research Workshop on the

Hydrometeorology, Impacts, and Management of Extreme Floods

Perugia (Italy), November 1995






J. Wessel

Director RBA Centre

Faculty of Civil Engineering, TNO

Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands



            This paper deals with the management aspects of the Rhine River specially those related to flood control.  Current trends in flood management triggered by recent catastrophic events and some thoughts for future developments are discussed.  The Rhine River is the most important waterway of Western Europe.  It links the German industrial areas around Mannheim and the Ruhr with the port of Rotterdam.  For this reason, it has been the object of not only wars and negotiations, but also of coordination and cooperation.  In 1993, 1994, and 1995 several floods have occurred in the basin.  The most extreme flood was that of January 1995 which caused extreme damage in many regions.  The damage was estimated at more than 200 million Dutch guilders in the Netherlands alone.  In Germany upstream flood control measures have had some negative impacts.  In the lower Rhine and in the Netherlands there is a large system of embankments and during the 1995 flood there was a concern that some dikes may fail.  It appears that the future management of the Rhine will require a much closer cooperation of all the basin states specially the cooperation of users organizations, and dependable real time information from all sectors and all parts of the basin should be made available.