2000-2006, Elbe catchment area, Germany

[h]Towards a DSS for the Elbe[/h]
Since methodologies and tools for such an integrated multidisciplinary approach were not readily available, the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) has initiated the feasibility study ‘Towards a generic tool for river basin management’. The study was carried out by the Universities of Twente/Enschede and Osnabrück and the institutes RIKS and INFRAM from the Netherlands. The goal of this project was to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for the Elbe river basin. Such a DSS helps the water managers to formulate policy for river basin management and to take appropriate measures to realise policy objectives. As such it could also be a very useful tool for the implementation of EU-WFD. Furthermore the DSS is especially suited to support participative approaches to policy formulation. The feasibility study had been completed in the autumn of 2000. It gave recommendations for a pilot study focussing on some selected topics in the Elbe river basin, which could be considered for implementation in a period of three years following the feasibility study.

[h]Themes for the DSS for the Elbe[/h]
The results of the feasibility study showed that various governments, non governmental organisations and institutions could benefit from the DSS. In a series of interviews several potential end-users of the DSS were identified. The interviews revealed the following themes in the Elbe river basin that should be addressed by the DSS:

  • how to improve the socio-economic conditions of the different uses of the river basin and it´s catchment (shipping, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, etc.)?

  • how to provide a acceptable and sustainable level of flood?

  • how to reach a sustainable improvement of the physical, chemical and biological state of the Elbe and its tributaries?

  • how to reduce the nutrients from agriculture, settlements and industries and the chemical load into the North Sea?

  • how to increase the ecological value of the river and the floodplains in the Elbe river basin?

A number of measures can be taken to solve these problems. For the pilot study a definitive selection has to be made. On the basis of the interviews six possible themes are formulated which could be incorporated in the pilot DSS:

  • High water management: dike shifting and other measures

  • dike shifting (space for the river)

  • reduction of buildings and other treasuries in the foreland

  • provide information on high water management

  • Water quality

  • reduction of point- and non-point-source pollution by improving agricultural practice (nutrients, pesticides)

  • reduction of pollution by hazardous substances

  • improving/building waste-water treatment plants

  • Navigability

  • groyne modification

  • dredging

  • Reduction of riverbed erosion

  • adding material to the river bed/sand suppletion

  • Nature-Protection

  • zoning (nature-reserves)

  • development of naturelike floodplains

  • Tourism

  • several measures


[h]Preliminary system design[/h]
A modular structure is suggested for the DSS to deal with different spatio-temporal scales of the processes involved.

The Catchment Module is defined at river-basin scale, and describes the relationship between landuse and runoff.

The River Module pertains to the Elbe river and focusses on water quality, shipping, flood control, and large-scale ecological changes.

The Floodplain Module is defined for a representative section of the floodplains and describes the local ecomorphological consequences of selected river engineering measures.

[h]Pilot study[/h]
The feasibility study had shown that it is both useful and feasible to build a DSS for the Elbe river basin. In addition, the Elbe-DSS could serve as a proof of concept and blueprint for the development of similar tools for other river catchments. On the basis of the results of the feasibility study, in january 2002 the BfG started a three year pilot study. In this study an international consortium has deveoped a Pilot-DSS for the Elbe, focussing on the themes mentioned above. An iterative development proces has been applied, where the envisoed end-users were frequently involved in the various design phases of the DSS. The first prototype of the Elbe-DSS was released in 2005. Since then extensive evaluaions with users and in educational settings have been carried out.

[h]Selected publications[/h]
Hahn, B.M., Kofalk, S., de Kok, J.L., Berlekamp, J. and Evers, M. (2009)
Elbe DSS: a planning support system for strategic river basin planning,
In: Geertman, S. & Stillwell, J.C.H. (Eds.), Best Practice and New Methods in Planning Support Systems, GeoJournal Series, volume 95, p.113-136, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Springer

S. Lautenbach, J. Berlekamp, R. Seppelt, M. Matthies (2009): Application of the Elbe-DSS: Scenario Analysis and Management Options, Environmental Modelling and Software 24(1), 26-43

de Kok, J.-L., Kofalk, S., Berlekamp, J., Hahn, B. and Wind, H., (2008)
From Design to Application of a Decision-support System for Integrated River-basin Management,
Water Resources Management An International Journal - Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA) Editor-in-Chief: G. Tsakiris ISSN: 0920-4741 (print version) ISSN: 1573-1650 (electronic version), volume 22
Springer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, SpringerLink

Evers, Mariele (2008) Decision Support Systems in Integrated River Basin Management - Requirements for appropriate tools and structures for a comprehensive planning approach. Dissertation. Shaker Verlag, ISBN 978-3-83227515-0

J. Berlekamp, S. Lautenbach, N. Graf, S. Reimer, M. Matthies (2007) : Integration of MONERIS and GREAT-ER in the Decision Support System for the German Elbe River Basin. Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 22, Issue 2 , Pages 239-247

M. Matthies, J. Berlekamp, S. Lautenbach, N. Graf , S. Reimer (2006) : System Analysis of Water Quality Management for the Elbe River Basin. Environmental Modelling and Software. 21, p. 1309 - 1318

[h]Further information[/h]
For general information about the Elbe-DSS please refer to ELISE Elbe Information System) or contact [m]kofalk@bafg.de[mm]Dr. S. Kofalk[/m], at the Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde (BfG), Mainzer Tor 1, 56068 Koblenz, Phone: +49 (261) 13065330 beginoftheskypehighlighting              +49 (261) 13065330      endoftheskypehighlighting.

For technical information about the Elbe-DSS or information related to consulting, knowledge engineering, model integration, and system development please contact [m]bmhahn@riks.nl[mm]Bernhard Hahn[/m] of RIKS BV, Phone +31 (43) 3501754