The activities of over 83 million people in 19 countries have an impact on the natural environment of the Danube River Basin, and are also leading to serious problems with water quality and quantity, and significant reductions in biodiversity in certain part sof the river baisn.
Did you know?
Organic pollution, nutrient pollution, pollution by hazardous substances and hydromorphological alterations are the four Significant Water Management Issues in the Danube River Basin - as shown by the Danube Analysis Report 2004.
Too much inadequately treated waste water still ends up in the Danube, puting at risk the drinking water supply for millions of people, and also leading to problems for irrigation, industry, fishing, and tourism.
The main pollution problem is the excessive volumes of nutrients entering the river, mainly from agricultural fertilisers, and unthreatened or not adequately threatened municipal sewage, including facies and household products.
Further, organic pollution can cause significant changes in the oxygen balance of rivers and lakes. As a consequence this can impact the composition of aquatic species. Organic pollution is mainly caused by untreated or only partially treated wastewater from cities/villages, industry and agriculture. Many agglomerations in the Danube River Basin have no, or insufficient, wastewater treatment and are therefore key contributors to organic pollution.
Hazardous and toxic substances are also a major threat, made worse by occasional industrial accidents or floods when deadly toxins may be flushed directly into watercourses.
A recent analysis also shows that surface waters suffer significantly from hydromorphological alterations. Interruption of river and habitat continuity, disconnection of adjacent wetland/floodplains, hydrological alterations and future infrastructure may impact water status and therefore need to be addressed in future.
It is assumed that the effects of the floods that impacted the countries in the Danube basin in the last years were worsened due to deforestation, the destruction of natural floodplains and human-induced global warming.
Preserving the natural habitats of the many species living in the basin is a constant struggle. The habitats of pelicans in the Danube Delta and sturgeon species are particularly under threat.
Major problems affecting aquatic ecosystems in the Danube River Basin
- Excessive nutrient loads (particularly nitrogen and phosphorous)
- High amounts of organic substances originating from untreated or poorly treated wastewater
- Changes in river flow patterns (hydromorphological alterations) and its effect on sediment transportation
- Contamination with hazardous substances (including heavy metals, oil, and microbiological toxins)
- Accidental pollution from contaminated sites or waste disposal. as well as from navigation
- Degradation and loss of wetlands
Human pressures and impacts are currently investigated in the frame of the development of the Danube River Basin Management Plan (according to the WFD). A final version of this Plan will be available end 2009. However, preliminary findings can already be found in the draft DRBM Plan.
The information contained in the ICPDR website is intended to enhance public access to information about the ICPDR and the Danube River. The information is correct to the best of the knowledge of the ICPDR Secretariat. If errors are brought to our attention we will try to correct them.
The ICPDR, expert group members, nor other parties involved in preparation of information contained on this website cannot, however, be held responsible for the correctness and validity of the data and information provided, nor accept responsibility or liability for damages or losses arising directly or indirectly from the use of the information conveyed therein.
Only those documents clearly marked ICPDR documents reflect the position of the ICPDR.
Any links to other websites are provided for your convenience only. The ICPDR does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy, availability, or appropriateness to the user's purposes, of any information or services on any other website.
When using the information and material provided on this website, credit should be given to the ICPDR.