Case study on river management: Danube

Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), Danube River on the Romanian/Bulgarian border. rel=
Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), Danube River on the Romanian/Bulgarian border.
© WWF-Canon / Anton VORAUER
The Danube basin, covering 817,000km² - about one-third of continental Europe outside Russia - is the most international river basin in the world, extending over all or part of the territories of 18 countries.

Europe's 2nd longest river
The Danube River itself crosses ten countries and is Europe's second longest river after the Volga, flowing over 2,857 km from Germany's Black Forest to the Romanian and Ukrainian Danube Delta on the shores of the Black Sea.

The Danube is also Europe's only major river that flows west to east, from the current Member States of the European Union through the former eastern bloc countries of central and eastern Europe, many of which are now prospective EU members.

The European Commission recognizes the Danube as the "single most important non-oceanic body of water in Europe" and a "future central axis for the European Union".

Socio-economic importance
The main economic uses of the Danube are:
  • domestic/drinking water supply
  • water supply for industry
  • water supply for agriculture
  • hydroelectric power generation
  • navigation
  • tourism and recreation
  • waste disposal (both solid and liquid wastes)
  • fisheries.

In addition, the Danube's remaining floodplains provide a range of economically important 'ecological services', such as water quality regulation and flood control.

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