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Sustainable Sediment Management of Alpine Reservoirs considering ecological and economical aspects



Lead Partner

German Armed Forces University Munich – Universität der Bundeswehr München, Institute for Hydroscience

Lead Partner Country


Project Website


01/2004 - 04/2007

Date of Approval


Approx. Total Budget in €

3.000.000 €

ERDF in €

1.275.000 €

Project Summary

The Alpine Region is regarded as the most valuable source of clean drinking water in Europe and of great importance for hydro power use. Management of water as an extremely valuable resource is guaranteed by numerous reservoirs enabling a third essential task: flood protection. Sediments are transported in rivers originated from natural geomorphologic processes in alpine regions accumulating material in reservoirs. Thus storage capacity is reduced interfering with the needs of water supply, flood protection and hydro power. However, the lack of transported material in downstream sections heavily affects ecological variety, river bed stability and groundwater. The project aims on a wise management of sediments on basis of experiences gained on national level to establish trans-national guidelines taking into account the EU Water Framework Directive and spatial development needs to preserve existing reservoirs and to avoid uncontrolled exploitation by constructing new storage capacity.

Project Objectives

As flood protection is a major task and of high public interest trans-national strategies are needed to implement a sustainable management aiming on a dynamic balance to avoid reservoir sedimentation as well as degradation processes of rivers in the peri-alpine belt to reduce the risk of floods and to avoid severe damages to infrastructure and private property. Accumulation in reservoirs reduces valuable morphological processes of rivers downstream affecting biologic diversity and ecologic dynamics.

Project Achievements

Comprehensive guidelines on sedimentation processes in the Alpine region for enhanced taining of water authorities, local administrations and private businessesSeven typical Alpine reservoirs were selected for pilot projects ranging from a high region facility directly influenced by glacier activity down to peri-alpine belt river reservoirs to cover most sedimentation problems in the Alpine region. The activities are focussed on different strategies to transfer or remove sediments in a larger scale taking into consideration the fragile environment of the Alps.A data base will be implemented to gather information about reservoirs of different geometry and operational procedures. Immediate information of local authorities and all relevant interest groups (inhabitants, fishermen, land owners) can reduce disputes significantly. Experiences of how to encourage locals to join the planning process will be shared within the partnership and published as recommendations to administrations and reservoir owners.

Project Result Files


EU Project Partners

Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Fachabteilung 13A, Umweltrecht und EnergieGovernment of Styria - Department for Water Jurisdication Issues (Austria)
Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Fachabteilung 19A, Wasserwirtschaftliche Planung und HydrographieGovernment of Styria - Department for Water Ressources Management (Austria)
Autonome Provinz Bozen-Südtirol, Ämter für Jagd und Fischerei, Stauanlagen, Wasserwirtschaft - Government of Province Bolzano-South Tyrolia, Departments for Fishery, Dams, Water Ressources Management (Italy)
Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Landesentwicklung und Umweltfragen - Bavarian Ministery for Land Reclamation and Environmental Issues (Germany)
ENEL HYDRO S.p.A.ISMES Division (Italy)
Graz University of TechnologyInstitute for Hydraulic Structures and Water Resources Management (Austria)
Österreichischer Verein für Ökologie und Umweltforschung - Austrian Association for Ecology and Environmental Research (Austria)
Provincia di Belluno (Italy)
Schneider & Jorde Ecological Engineering GmbH (Germany)
Università degli Studi di TriesteDipartimento di Ingegneria Civile (Italy)
University of Ljubljana FGG, Hydrotechnical Department (Slovenia)
Verbund – Austrian Hydro Power AG (Austria)

Non-EU Project Partners

École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne - Laboratoire de constructions hydrauliques (Switzerland)
Forces Motrices de la Gougra SA (Switzerland)
Schweizerischer Wasserwirtschaftsverband - Suisse Association of Water Ressources Management (Switzerland)
Service des Forces Hydrauliques du Canton du Valais (Switzerland)

Contact Person

Lerch, Hans

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Community Initiative Programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund