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KLIWAS – Impacts of climate change on waterways and navigation – Searching for options of adaptation

The concluding report of the Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure (BMVI) presenting the technical conclusions from the findings of the KLIWAS research programme has been published in German in March 2015. The translation into English was released in January 2016.

A research programme of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure (BMVI)

Among all modes of transport, inland and coastal navigation excels by its energy efficiency and is thus making a contribution to the protection of the present climate. However, the efficiency of goods and passenger transport on waterways may be severely impaired by consequences of climate change in the future. That is the reason why the German Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure (BMVI) commissioned its four subordinated research institutions

  • the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)
  • the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)
  • the Deutscher Wetterdienst - DWD (National Meteorological Service), and
  • the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW)

to analyse the potential consequences of climate change for navigation on inland and coastal waterways and to formulate appropriate strategies for adaptation to the changed environmental conditions in the future. Targets of this research effort, which lasted from March 2009 to December 2013 were, on the one hand, to safeguard the efficiency of this mode of transport and, on the other hand, to preserve the water quality and the habitats in rivers, canals, lakes, and coastal waters. This research was pursued in close cooperation with pertinent national and international scientific networks.

The findings of this research should serve to advice the Federal government in matters of inland navigation and waterways and contribute to the German Adaptation Strategy (DAS) to climate change. Moreover, they are beneficial for other sectors such as agriculture, energy generation, and the insurance industry.

With the pilot project "Hydrology and Inland Navigation" - a precursor of the KLIWAS research programme - the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) had begun already in the year 2007 to compile a hydro-meteorological database of the German parts in all international (shared) river basins. The project also assessed the consequences of climate change on hydrology, transportation costs, and other economic aspects and derived options for actions in waterway management, inland navigation, and industrial branches requiring the transport of bulk goods.

The KLIWAS research programme of the Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure (BMVI) was coordinated with the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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