Since the beginning of the 20th century the rivers of Europe, almost without exception have become polluted, channelled and fragmented by dams and weirs. The result is a catastrophic reduction in biodiversity and water quality, accompanied by a widespread deepening of the riverbed and a massive loss of inundation plains and marshland to prevent flooding.

World River Biodiversity Threat (2010)

Only a few unspoilt and even fewer wild stretches of river remain.

The evaluations made and inventory prepared as part of the European overall water guidelines underline the urgent need for a reorientation of river management, linked with rigorous restoration policies. In spite of all the effort made over centuries, by 2015 only about a third all water courses had attained the required ecological condition.

The poor condition of our rivers can be attributed primarily to the unrestrained construction of dams for the purposes of energy production and irrigation, the policy of intensive agricultural, industrial and urban pollution and in part by a misplaced over-dimensioning of channelling for transport and a misplaced understanding of flood protection. The ongoing climat change will additionnaly improve all other impacts.

More information on the main threaths

New threats due to large infrastructurs planned, under construction or build since 2000