Developing a multi-scale, multi-disciplinary GIS framework to jointly assess human water security and river ecological status in the Danube Basin

  • Project idea information


    Environment and culture responsible Danube region - Strengthen transnational water management and flood risk prevention

    Project Idea Promoter
    (name of the institution)

    MTA-BME Water Research Group

    Needs and challenges
    (Needs, main problems or challenges to be addressed)

    In a large international catchment, sustainable management and implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive require diagnosing the impacts of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems and human water security coherently and simultaneously.

    (main and specific objectives to be achieved)

    This project aims at developing a flexible, high-resolution (1 to 10 km2) spatial framework that quantifies a broad range of stressors and considers both local and downstream propagating impacts following the ideas of Vörösmarty et al. (2010; Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity, Nature 467: 555-561; doi:10.1038/nature09549). Local impacts will be routed through the digital river network by a catchment model. Relative threat indices will be derived from cumulative impacts caused by multiple (25 to 30) spatial drivers that represent four main categories: catchment disturbance (e.g. landuse, wetland/floodplain disconnectivity), pollution (e.g. nutrients, organic matter, toxic substances, xenobiotics, thermal alteration) water resources development (e.g. dams, river fragmentation, hydromorphological alterations, human and agricultural water stress, water residence time) and biotic factors (e.g. invasive and protected species, aquaculture pressure, eutrophication).

    Main results and core outputs

    High-resolution, comprehensive maps will be produced on individual and cumulative threats to human water security and river ecosystem integrity in the Danube Basin. After consultations with relevant national management agencies and international organizations (ICPDR, WWF), we will select 3 to 4 specific issues that could be thematically elucidated using the project results. Candidate issues for systematic evaluation are as follows. (i) Comparison of threats to human water security and aquatic ecosystem integrity in various countries. (ii) Evaluation of the most important impacts that threaten protected areas including the Natura 2000 network along the Danube River and its major tributaries. (iii) Evaluation of the magnitude and efficiency of investments that decrease human water security and improve ecological status of rivers. (iv) Identification of the strongest stressors for the Danube Delta and Black Sea along with source areas of stressors.

    Main foreseen activities

    data collection, modelling, expert judgement

    Innovative character of the project idea

    It is innovative.

    Estimated Total Budget
    (in EUR)

    As much as possible.

    Estimated duration
    (in months)

    As long as possible.

  • Partners involved at this stage

    ERDF Partners


    IPA Partners


    Associated Strategic Partners


  • Partners requested

    ERDF Partners

    Any relevant partner is welcome.

    IPA Partners

    Any relevant partner is welcome.

    Associated Strategic Partners

    Any relevant partner is welcome.

  • Contact Person


    Vera Istvánovics


    3 Műegyetem rkp.



    Telephone number

    Is the applicant the project's potential Lead Partner?

    If not, is the potential Lead Partner already being chosen?

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)