In a 3 year-long international cooperation, water professionals from 12 countries have laid the foundations of a system for the real time sharing of the national hydrological and meteorological data in the Danube Basin. DAREFFORT – a project funded by the European Union – aimed to enhance flood and ice control in the Danube river basin. Rapid implementation of the system at the participating nations is also supported with e-learning training packages.
Due to the pandemic, the final conference was organised for the DAREFFORT (Danube River Basin Enhanced Flood Forecasting Cooperation) project in the virtual space, connecting. nearly 100 registered participants, who were well aware of the real value that was created in the last 3 years. Today's extreme weather conditions have a significant impact on the level of our natural waters, and may cost not only millions of euros, but many lives in Europe. The demand for more accurate flood forecasting has increased, as extreme water levels has become more and more frequent in the past two decades. A harmonised system could improve flood protection by providing precious time advantage in case of emergency.
Project members of the 12 countries not only represented national institutions, but included scientific researchers, economists, and other relevant fields of interest. Project partners – with the lead of Hungarian hydro-engineering company Viziterv Environ – have explored the current status of the national forecasting abilities, and jointly developed their proposals for the necessary set of harmonised and coherent data to be collected and exchanged real time.
However it had required important diplomatic and engineering work before the development of the EnviroNet Platform took place. It was necessary to assess what data each country needed, how they could support joint efforts and what agreements might be needed at the level of the participating nations. Finally, a secure data exchange platform, accepted by all participants in terms of operation and location, has been established, through which harmonised data are exchanged. At the closing conference, the development partners expressed their conviction that the system could be made public as soon as possible, so that in addition to the competent institutions, professional users could have access to real-time data from water and meteorological measuring stations in the Danube catchment area.
The results of the DAREFFORT project represent an important step towards the establishment of the Danube Hydrological Information System (DanubeHIS), designed by the International Comission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). Furthermore the provision of data to the EFAS (European Flood Awareness System) may also be viable.
The DAREFFORT project was created with more than 1 million euro from European Union fundings and co-financed by the participating countries, within the framework of the Danube Transnational Programme under the European Territorial Co-operation (Interreg), in priority area 2.1 under the so-called "Danube Region for Environment and Culture", which is part of priority axis 2.