Rhine and Rhine-Meuse Delta
The Rhine is a major river in Central Europe, and its transboundary river basin (185,000 km2) comprises eight countries. The Rhine flows through some of the most populated and industrialized regions of Europe and is among the most important means of transportation worldwide. Although the climate is temperate, the Rhine is prone to both flood and drought conditions and is expected to become more vulnerable to both with climate change. The Rhine merges with the Meuse River in the Netherlands and drains into the North Sea in the Rhine-Meuse delta. The lower Rhine basin and its drainage into the ocean are heavily regulated, and the river is split up into several branches in the Dutch lowlands to facilitate water supply to large parts of the country. Several areas within the lower Rhine are below seawater and groundwater levels, and significant engineering efforts are required to sustain the extensive agriculture and urban development. The Rhine is one of the main shipping routes within Europe and also is an important freshwater resources in large parts of Switzerland and Germany.