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ATOIS TECHNICAL SUMMARY

Danube


Introduction

The information in this text is a Technical summary of the work undertaken in the EU FP6 project AquaTerra (Project 
number GOCE 505428), which ran from April 2005 until March 2009. The aim of this technical summary is to provide a
concise account of the range and nature of the work undertaken in the project relating to the subject of the DANUBE
BASIN: the intention is to make the work of AquaTerra more accessible to a wider audience. This document should be
read with a view to following up the work it describes in more detail through the specific project deliverables,
which if publically available can be downloaded from the main project website:
http://www.eu-aquaterra.de.

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary

Background

The Danube basin is one of five main study areas of the AquaTerra project. It is the largest river basin in Europe, 
covering an area of approximately 800.000 km2 and counting seventeen countries within its surface area, as well
as several major cities. As a result of industrialisation, urbanisation and agricultural intensification, the
water quality of the Danube has deteriorated significantly in the second half of the 20th century. This has led to
joint efforts between the Danube countries to monitor water quality and develop river basin management plans.
Nowadays, these efforts are coordinated by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River
(ICPDR), established in 1998.

Key issues affecting the Danube are its diversity, its size, the transition of a large part of its basin area from
communist to free market economies and environmental factors such as point and diffuse contamination and hydromorphological
alterations for water storage, hydroelectricty and improved navigation. Sediment transport, deposition and
contamination is particularly significant; the remobilisation of contaminants from sediment is becoming more
of an issue with increased risk of flooding as a result of climate change and alterations to the natural river flow.
While historically the environment has not been a serious consideration, and the management of the environment
has been poorly coordinated across the many riparian countries, recent changes in legislation have led, and will
continue to lead, to significant improvements.

AquaTerra work in the Danube basin was centred on a sampling expedition, the AquaTerra Danube Survey (ADS), using
a laboratory boat. The ADS collected suspended matter and sediment samples from 30 sites along a stretch of the river
from Klosterneuburg in Austria to Calafat in Romania. Analysis of existing data, as well as the new work undertaken
in the ADS led to the identification of relevant organic and inorganic pollutants in Danube suspended solids and
sediments in the context of Water Framework Directive (WFD) priority substances. Cadmium and lead are the most
serious inorganic contaminants in the Danube basin. In the case of organic substances, 4-iso-nonylphenol and
di[2-ethyl-hexyl] phthalate are the most significant substances. Taking into account the monitoring data for
the water column, lindane, DDT and atrazine should be included in a list of priority substances for the basin.

As part of the AquaTerra initiative towards stakeholder involvement and interaction with the project, a collaborative
workshop was held to discuss issues related to sediment, flooding and contamination in the basin, which led to a
coherent plan to take forward issues related to sediment contamination, transport and deposition within the context
of the WFD.

As well as the BASIN 5 sub project of AquaTerra, the DANUBE catchment has been the focus of work within the FLUX,
TREND, BIOGEOCHEM and INTEGRATOR sub-projects. This summary is divided into two sections, an introduction giving
background information on the catchment itself and a description of specific activities undertaken within AquaTerra
investigating various aspects of the basin.

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary

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