WWF warns on Danube drought

2011-11-29 19:29

Sofia - A major drought along the lower Danube has highlighted the river's reduced ability to buffer extreme weather events and has hampered navigation, environmental group WWF said on Tuesday.

The Danube is currently seeing its lowest levels since 2003, with bigger ships often being blocked by multiple sand bars, according to Bulgaria's Danube exploration agency.

Human intervention such as gravel extraction, dredging and dams has contributed to the gradual loss of wetlands that can soak up water during rainy periods and release it slowly during drier times, WWF said.

A WWF bird-watching expedition during the summer found as a result a drastic drop in bird populations along the lower stretch of the river in Bulgaria and Romania.

"The current dry conditions highlight the need to minimise the impact of structural interventions (...) as they reduce the resilience of water ecosystems," WWF Danube-Carpathian programme director Andreas Beckmann said.

He raised the need to rethink plans for new infrastructure works to eliminate rapids and improve navigation as well as the planned construction of new hydro power stations on the river.

According to Beckmann, these may affect the ecological status of freshwater ecosystems along the whole 1 000km lower stretch of the Danube.

Besides, "the feasibility of hydro power and navigation projects relies on predictable water levels while climate change is expected to lower predictability," another WWF expert, Irene Lucius, warned.

Low water levels already blocked around 100 ships on Tuesday on the upstream Serbian stretch of the Danube, local media said. Traffic is not expected to resume over the coming days as meteorological services forecast no rain.

The 2 860km Danube, Europe's second longest river, originates in Germany and passes through eight central and eastern European countries before flowing into the Black Sea.

Read more on:    germany  |  bulgaria  |  weather  |  water

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.