dws-river-prize-2013-hand-out-770px-1The International RiverFoundation announced that the Rhine river commssion has won the first IRF European Riverprize for outstanding achievements in sustainable river management.

The prize was handed out during the 5h European River Restoration Conference, Vienna, Austria on 12th September. Executive Secretary Ben van de Wetering and Deputy Secretary Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig (middle of photo) received the prize on behalf of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine.  

First time
2013 is the first year that a European Riverprize was awarded, with the International RiverFoundation partnering with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, the European Centre for River Restoration and Coca-Cola Europe to deliver the prize.

The other finalists in the 2013 IRF European Riverprize were the Órbigo River, the Upper Drau, and the Mura-Drava-Danube.

The award is endowed with 25,000 euro and additional support of twinning activities.

dws-river-award-river-diagram-species-350px-jpgReturn of the biocoenosis of the Rhine since 1980 when riparian states started to implement the water quality policy as agreed within the International Rhine Commission.

Dramatic improvement water quality
The River Rhine received the award for remarkable achievements in integrated river basin management following a 50 year legacy of river degradation and a devastating chemical accident in 1986.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR), and other stakeholders in the basin have successfully implemented urban wastewater management strategies and dramatically improved the water quality of the Rhine. 
Additionally, in the past 15 years, the adoption of new, integrated policies has resulted in the restoration of a substantial area of floodplains in the densely populated Rhine delta.

Leadership in river basin management
The European Riverprize Judging Panel, comprised of an all‐European panel of experts, selected the River Rhine as the winner as they were able to clearly demonstrate leadership, sophistication and an integrated, complex approach to river basin management whilst overcoming a range of challenges and achieving real on-ground outcomes for river and species health.

dws-river-prize-rhine-350pxExample for other river basins
Bart Fokkens, Chairman of the European Centre for River Restoration and Chairman of the European Riverprize Judging Panel, said: "The Rhine excelled in developing innovative concepts like integrating policies and developing strategies, and were highly successful in their implementation. The Rhine is a European leader in the development of the environmental directives of the European Union and an example for other river basins in Europe and all over the world."

The River Rhine will now automatically qualify as a finalist for the Thiess International Riverprize in 2014.

On the top photo from left to right: Matt Reddy (IRF), Ulrike Sapiro (Coca-Cola Europe), André Weidenhaupt (ICPR), Ben van de Wetering (ICPR), Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig (ICPR), Ermina Salkičević-Dizdarević (ICPDR), David Stuart (Australian Ambassador to Austria).

This news item was originally published on the website of International River Foundation (pdf file).

More information
European River Prize
c/o Internationa River Foundation
Brisbane, Australia
+61 7 3123 7767