The Danube area includes two sites that will be studied in the framework of the SOS-Water project:

  1. the snow/ice-dependent Alpine catchments in the Upper Danube region, which are subject to changing snowmelt and glacier melt due to climate change and the resulting impacts on ecosystems and hydropower production; and
  2. the global delta, which faces a multitude of challenges in terms of water quality, groundwater management, biodiversity, and climate change.

Danube Delta

The Danube delta in Romania is the most important wetland in Europe, representing a nature reserve with highly diverse fauna and flora. The Danube Delta forms the outlet of the Danube River flowing into the Black Sea. With approximately 800,000 km2, the Danube is the largest river basin in Europe and one of the largest transboundary basins worldwide, spanning over 10 countries. The Danube Delta is a unique and vulnerable natural habitat consisting of various river branches and channels, flood plains, and lagoons. Upstream water management, energy production, and agricultural activities across the entire basin alter downstream flood regimes, sediment transport, and water quality, leading to a broad range of aggregated impacts in the delta region. Current efforts to mitigate, sediment loss succeeded by capturing sediments inside the delta through channelization but also favored increases in pollution and eutrophication levels and enhanced coastal erosion, which highlight the complex interactions in this region. Conflicts especially exist between upstream energy and agricultural interests and environmental protection, tourism, and local communities downstream.