Selection of project-specific websites

This page contains specific presentations of selected projects.

For a complete list and short presentation of all our ongoing and completed projects, please visit our research information system FIS:

Research Information System

swarm - Strengthening of master curricula in water resources management for the Wester Balkan HEIs and stakeholders

The overall broader aim of the project “swarm” is the education of experts for water resources management in the Western Balkans (WB) in line with the national and EU policies.

Specific objectives

- Improve the level of competencies and skills in Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) by developing new and innovative master programmes in the field of water resources management (WRM) in line with the Bologna requirements and national accreditation standards by October 2021

- Design and implement seven new and up-to-date laboratories in WB partner HEIs in cooperation with EU project partners by November 2019

- Develop and implement LLL courses for the water sector in line with EU Water Framework Directive by January 2021

The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

More information is available at:
http://www.swarm.ni.ac.rs/

HyMoCARES - HydroMorphological assessment and management at basin scale for the Conservation of Alpine Rivers and related Ecosystem Services

River corridors represent one of the most used and modified landscape elements in the Alps. They provide key ecosystem services, but currently many of them are at risk or significantly degraded. The project will develop a conceptual framework, and operational tools, comprising novel methods, to integrate ecosystem services in Alpine river basin planning and management, with a special focus on factors affecting river hydromorphology – including sediment continuity – while ensuring integration of local and basin scales. The project will identify actual planning, management, operational activities, where the proposed approach can be applied, and will collaborate directly with relevant actors, both public and private, in order to ensure proper transfer of project outputs, and thus a tangible real-scale impact. This project is co-financed (total funding: € 2,103,433.37) by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space programme.

Link to project website: http://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/hymocares/en/home

 

 

ResInfra@DR - Facilitating macro-regional scope and link up to socio-economic actors of Research Infrastructure in the Danube Region

In view of ever more complex and differentiated innovation and research funding mix in the Danube macroregion, coupled with the current circumstances of financial crisis that highly affects the public sector investments, the absence of adequate ex-ante review, monitoring and impact oriented assessments on STI programmes and specifically on research infrastructures (RI), is a serious bottleneck for the entire STI funding system and the innovation management cycle.

Referring to efforts to establish new research infrastructures (RI), to upgrade the existing ones or to reassess their functionality, it is evident that no specific tools or standard methodologies are available that adequately reflect the specific situation in the Danube Macro-region. Moreover, efforts to ease the utilization of RIs on regional level are necessary to prove the usefulness of proper public R&D funding and to stimulate the private actors to co-fund in future research infrastructure i.e. in private public partnerships.

ResInfra@DR aims to upgrade the knowledge of policy makers and the policy delivery organisations involved in the financing, and parent organisations arranging the operation of research infrastructures. It involves in the activities two core beneficiary groups by exploiting the broad outreach of the involved
partnership. ResInfra@DR develops (1) a dialogue focusing on important regional, national and macro regional but also EU level policy fields, the end-users of RIs. It (2) provides to the target groups special trainings, thus contribute to capacity building with an outreach to the entire macro-region and beyond the involved partnership and (3) collects a dataset of competent (and qualified) reviewers for RI assessments. Two pilot activities will focus on (4) Peer reviews of nine existing RIs and (5) Ex ante assessments of three planned RIs in the Macro Region. Dedicated dissemination and capitalisation actions contribute to policy take up and utilisation of the results.

ResInfra@DR with an overall budget of € 2.154.989,34 is running from January 2017 to June 2019 and is co-financed by the Interreg-Danube Transnational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

Link to the project homepage: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/resinfra-dr

 

 

Danube Sediment Management - Restoration of the Sediment Balance in the Danube River (DanubeSediment)

In the Danube Basin an increasing discrepancy between surplus and lack of sediment can be observed. This leads to an increase of flood risks and a reduction of navigation possibilities, hydropower production and biodiversity. Thus, sediment transport and sediment management are urgent issues, which can only be treated in a transnational basin wide approach as sediments don’t regard administrative or political borders. The lack of sediment management has been recognized by the ICPDR in the Danube River Basin Management Plan in 2009 and 2015. Thus, the main objective of this project is to improve Water and Sediment Management as well as the morphology of the Danube River. To close existing knowledge gaps, sediment data collection will be performed providing information to the sediment data analysis and will lead to a handbook on good practices of sediment monitoring methods. Furthermore, a baseline document on the Danube Sediment Balance will be prepared, which explains the problems which arise with sediment discontinuity negatively influencing flood risk, inland navigation, ecology and hydropower production. Possible answers to these problems will be provided by a catalogue of measures. The main outputs of the project are the first Danube Sediment Management Guidance comprising measures to be implemented and a Sediment Manual for the stakeholders consisting of approaches how to implement the measures, which deliver key contributions to the Danube River Basin Management Plan and the Danube Flood Risk Management Plan. By a better and sustainable sediment management in the Danube Basin, improved navigation conditions, reduced flood risks, enhanced ecological status and durable hydropower production will be obtained. Furthermore, International Stakeholder Workshop, training 100 experts, will be organized to reach the target groups and users of the project results as well as to establish an efficient interaction with them.

DanubeSediment with an overall budget of € 3.558.581,62 is running from January 2017 to June 2019 and is co-financed by the Interreg-Danube Transnational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

Up-to-date information can be found under www.interreg-danube.eu/danubesediment

 

 

SEDECO - Sediments, ecosystem services and interrelation with floods and droughts in the AT-CZ border region

The Thaya River forms the border between AT and CZ,and both countries profit from its use (e.g. energy production, recreation, fisheries). But the use leads to negative impacts on the river system such as channelization and flood plain disconnection of the river. These impacts initiate a modification of the sediment transport causing e.g. sedimentation in reservoirs and increasing flood risk. Meander cut offs trigger ecosystem degradation and destabilization of the aquatic habitats (e.g. spawning places) and consequently have a negative influence on biodiversity. This affects together with floods and droughts - intensified by climate change - the functioning of ecosystems, increasing vulnerability and a decline in ecosystem services provided by the river.

Therefore the aim of SEDECO is to promote ecosystem services and biodiversity as well as to reduce the impacts of floods and droughts by the derivation of targeted and efficient green infrastructures. The new Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory HEL as open research center will, together with joint monitoring and modelling, form the basis for optimized green infrastructures. This involves an improved knowledge about the Thaya river system including a sustainable reservoir sediment management strategy helping to minimize flood and drought risk. Furthermore SEDECO aims to improve the morphodynamics in cross border meander reaches and of preserved natural or restored river banks, positively influencing ecosystem services and related biodiversity especially regarding fish, macrozoobenthic species and birds.

The key outputs are the New Hydraulic engineering laboratory (HEL), a sustainable sediment management strategy for the Nove Mlyny reservoir and a guideline for sustainable meander and riverbank restoration/preservation to improve ecosystem services and reduce flood and drought risk in the cross border region. The main beneficiaries of the project outputs are (i) the natural environment, the Thaya river biodiversity and the National Parks, (ii) Water Management Authorities in AT (via donau, Lower Austria) and CZ (Povodi Moravi), (iii) persons interested in fisheries and wildlife, (iv) experts, students and researchers, (v) people in the cross border region, affected by floods and droughts, (vi) general public.

Since rivers are not restricted by administrative and political borders and floods, droughts, sediments, fish etc. are moving across borders a pure national/regional/local approach is not able to protect and manage fluvial systems. The cross border cooperation is the only way to guarantee a sustainable solution for the problems addressed in SEDECO. In SEDECO the new approach consists of a joint development of monitoring, physical and numerical modelling of green infrastructures including a common strategic working and realisation concept developed in close cooperation between all partners.

SEDECO is running from April 2016 to Dezember 2020 and is co-financed by the Interreg Va Austria – Czech Republic Programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

Link to the project homepage: https://www.at-cz.eu/at/ibox/pa-2/atcz28_sedeco

SEDDON II - Sediment Research and Management at the Danube River II

Sediments and sediment management play a fundamental role in the management of rivers and their quality. The Upper (Austria) and Middle Danube (Hungary) are facing sediment related problems (e.g. river bed erosion) impacting the ecological condition, flood risk management, navigation and hydropower. Since water and sediments don’t regard borders, a cross border cooperation is needed in the area of field monitoring, numerical and physical modelling and practical river engineering measures. SEDDON II continues the basic achievements reached in SEDDON and focuses on the implementation of the suggested improvements. SEDDON II aims to improve knowledge and knowledge transfer from science to river management. Studies based on longer-term programs will lead to targeted and efficient measures in order to improve the ecological status and flood risk management. The key outputs of the project are i) a modern hydraulic engineering laboratory (HEL), being a unique research infrastructure with a discharge of up to 10 m³/s, allowing the study of basic processes and interrelations with river engineering measures; ii) a joint monitoring and modelling system, including the set up of new sediment monitoring stations and an expeditionary river survey system (ERiSS) in the HU section of the Danube, similarly to the station already existing in AT, and a comprehensive modelling throughout the project implementation, covering low, mean and high flow situations; iii) a guideline for joint river engineering measures based on the combination of large scale physical modelling with new numerical modelling using data from field monitoring. By using the new HEL an innovative infrastructure is available for exchanging knowledge between AT and HU, including experts, students and the public (also in the framework of the EUSDR flagship project DREAM). From the outcomes of SEDDON II the entire population along the Danube River will benefit.

SEDDON II is running from April 2016 to Dezember 2020 and is co-financed by the Interreg Va Austria – Hungary Programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

Link to the project homepage: http://www.interreg-athu.eu/en/seddon2/

 

DREAM RRMC VIENNA (hydraulic engineering laboratory)

The aim of the project is the construction of a research infrastructure consisting of a modern hydraulic engineering laboratory (RRMC) in Vienna with an in Europe unique laboratory discharge of up to 10 m³ / s without pumping. This represents the successful partial implementation of Activity 1 of the EUSDR DREAM (Danube River REsearch and Management) flagship project.


The purpose of the RRMC is to improve the understanding of processes occurring in rivers, to develop mathematical models for process description, to predict the impact of river engineering measures and to develop innovative hydraulic engineering methods to improve navigation, hydropower, flood protection and ecology. In addition, in the new laboratory, problem-solving measures in various hydrological topics will be developed (for example accumulation of sediment, depth of the waterway, restoration of riverbanks, stabilization of the riverbed, network of waterways).


The hydraulic engineering laboratory will be built between the Danube and the Danube Canal, is 100m long and 25m wide. The "Main Channel" in the basement is the heart of the hydraulic engineering laboratory. The large discharge (up to 10 m³ / s) enables practice-oriented model experiments, as a very large model scale up to 1: 1 is possible, which is in particular crucial in sediment transport experiments.


The project runs from April 2016 to December 2020 and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the “Investment for growth and jobs” program.

DREAM SK-AT Danube River Research and Management in Slovakia and Austria

The aims are to establish joint research facilities, to enhance knowledge transfer and to develop innovative monitoring and modelling tools in the SK-AT border region. By enhancing knowledge transfer and capacity building between research bodies and universities, the project will lead to an improved cooperation and exchange of expertise between research and innovation actors using newly constructed and upgraded research infrastructures (RI). New monitoring stations as well as innovative monitoring techniques (e.g. operative boat) and modelling tools concerning hydrodynamics, sediment transport, morphodynamics, ecological parameters and remote sensing technologies in river and wetland science will lead to high quality and comparable data derived at the Danube River in the project reaches (cross border region and adjacent reaches). A guidance document of monitoring and modelling tools will be published and available for the target groups. In SK (VÚVH) the hydraulic engineering laboratory (discharge 1,5 m³/s) will be modernized and upgraded according to the state of the art together with laboratory of geoinformatics and advanced river remote sensing (ILE SAS). In AT a hydraulic engineering laboratory will be constructed with 10 m³/s free flowing discharge. By using these RIs, the scientific basis for improving the Danube river management between Vienna and Bratislava will be developed, being available for target groups working in navigation, flood risk management, ecology, hydropower and drinking water supply. Furthermore, a close exchange of undergraduate and doctoral students and teachers between BOKU, VUVH and ILE SAS will be initiated and the research facilities will be jointly used for common teaching and research activities, also beyond the lifetime of the project.

Further information is available at: https://dream-sk-at.jimdosite.com/

 

Reducing the flood risk through floodplain restoration along the Danube River and tributaries (Danube Floodplain)

The first Danube Flood Risk Management Plan, as well as the legal bases of the European Water Framework Directive, the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive and the Birds Directive lead to the introduction of a Danube-wide integrative flood risk management, with a special view on the flood disasters of the recent decades.

The goal of Danube Floodplain is to develop a cross-river basin strategy and roadmap that will promote the protection and / or the optimal use of existing as well as the reconnection of isolated or lost retention areas / floodplains.

For this purpose extensive investigations at the retention areas of the Danube are carried out with hydraulic models using the FEM (Flood Evaluation Matrix) in order to obtain the inventory of the present situation. The existing and formerly existing retention areas will be ranked using the FEM. At selected pilot reaches, the FEM will be further developed and applied in terms of biodiversity and cost-benefit analyses, in order to provide the stakeholders involved with a basis for their further action.

Danube Floodplain with an overall budget of € 3.672.655,88 is running from June 2018 to November 2020 and is co-financed by the Interreg-Danube Transnational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

Up-to-date information can be found under http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/danube-floodplain

Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-12-11 - 2021-07-10

The transport of sediments is a natural process in river systems. However, human activities have led to significant changes of natural sediment loads in rivers and their tributaries over the past decades. These changes negatively influence important water management issues such as flood risk, inland navigation, ecology and hydropower generation. Especially for the latter, the loss of storage capacity due to sedimentation is a significant problem. Global storage capacity of reservoirs is being depleted by sedimentation faster than new reservoir capacity is being built, resulting in the declining trend of net reservoir storage. Considering the data on new dam construction together with an estimated rate of 1% annual loss of storage capacity shows that the total volume of storage capacity is declining worldwide. Moreover, when global storage volume is demonstrated on a per capita basis, it becomes evident that the water storage capacity peaked around 1980 and has been steeply declining since. The research questions are "what is the status of the World´s Large Rivers based on three case studies?" and "which methodology can be used to have a unique globally unified assessment?". To address the described problems, the following objectives have been identified: I. Case studies: To improve the understanding of problems related to sediment management in the river basins with a focus on interactions of sediments and hydropower plants with free flowing sections through dedicated case studies. II. Capacity building: To improve knowledge and promote capacity building in the hydropower and integrated river management sector. The main Deliverables include the inception report describing the common methodology to assess rivers, harmonised data sets of the three rivers, status reports on the Mekong, the Niger and the Danube, an inception report detailing the implementation plan for capacity building and knowledge transfer and contributions to a guideline document for practitioners and a guideline document for policy-makers. Beneficiaries: In each river basin hydropower companies, navigation companies and authorities, floodrisk managers, environmental groups and governmental institutions will benefit by the project deliverables, training workshops and through webinars. In total 50 persons from the beneficiaries per river basin will be involved. Implementation: global
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-12-01 - 2020-08-31

In order to make better use of rivers and the adjacent areas and to better protect them against floods, these were gradually regulated for flood protection, but also for navigation and hydropower purposes. As a consequence, the sediment regime was altered and continuum interruptions such as weirs and dams of hydropower plants often lead to an unbalanced sediment regime. The reduced river width and the increased gradient caused by the straightening of the river channel additionally increased the sediment transport capacity of the river. From the point of view of hydraulic engineering and ecology, the sediment continuity of rivers and an intact sediment balance are important issues for the sustainable management of our rivers. Both a sediment surplus and a deficit of sediments can contribute to the increase of the flood risk and to restrictions for navigation. Therefore, the restoration of the sediment continuum and the morphodynamics typical for the river type play an important role. The project should therefore provide an overview of the monitoring of sediment transport on the Danube in Austria, describe sediment transport processes - also in connection with flood events - and describe alterations of the morphology. Based on these findings, strategies will be identified to improve sediment management in the context of flood protection and navigation, and sediment management measures will be summarized that reduce flood risk and improve navigation.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-09-01 - 2020-04-30

Knowledge of bedload transport is paramount for process understanding, planning and implementation of preventive measures, delineation of risk areas and the analysis and assessment of flood events. In order to calculate bedload transport a large number of empirical equations is available, which differ strongly in their scope of applicability and which are characterized by a large bandwidth of results. In order to facilitate the standardized application of bedload transport equations (including equation sets for calculating flow hydrodynamics and the motion threshold of grains) in the year 2016 a guideline was developed at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, which besides a written guideline also contains a computer tool for the practical application within the WLV (Austrian Torrent and Avalanche Control). This guideline was extended in the scope of further projects in the years 2017 and 2018. During the application-oriented use of this guideline it was found that the limits of the usually applied equation for the calculation of channel hydrodynamics after Strickler (1923) are frequently exceeded in steep-sloped channels. Hence the resulting values for flow velocity and water depth are potentially erroneous. Besides the equation mentioned there exist different approaches for the calculation of channel hydrodynamics in these cases, such as Smart & Jäggi (1983) as well as Rickenmann & Recking (2011). The main research questions within the project are: How good fit the flow equations to actually measured data? Which of the three equations provides the best fit? Which reasons can exist that lead to a better or worse agreement with field data? In case of larger discrepancies: What would be necessary in order to achieve a general improvement of the equations?

Supervised Theses and Dissertations