SEDDON – clearing the way for a better flowing Danube

The EU-funded SEDDON project is researching the effects sediment transport and river morphology have on the flow of the Danube River and creating a set of best practices for better river management.

Additional tools

The research channel will be repurposed to serve as a supply line to a future hydraulic engineering laboratory. © Philipp Gmeiner The research channel will be repurposed to serve as a supply line to a future hydraulic engineering laboratory. © Philipp Gmeiner

" The project’s outcomes are very relevant to stakeholders like hydropower, navigation and flood risk managers, as well as national parks, NGOs and all citizens along the river, each of whom will gain advantage from the measures developed by the SEDDON project. From the programme’s perspective, SEDDON is a flagship project emphasising the importance of the water topic for cross border cooperation and especially showing the connective character of the Danube river for Europe. "

Tatjana Paar, Regionalmanagement Burgenland GmbH

The Danube is one of Europe’s iconic rivers. However, as a result of various environmental factors, the allure of the Danube is under threat. For example, hydropower reservoirs silt up and in free-flowing sections river bed degradation occurs, causing environmental degradation and affecting flood risk and navigation conditions such as fairway depth. 

Managing the effect of sediment transport is difficult as the river flows through numerous countries, carrying the sediment as it goes. Without a coordinated method for monitoring, measuring and managing sediment transportation, the future of the Danube is uncertain.

Harmonising river management

The EU-funded SEDDON project helped harmonise river management efforts between Austria and Hungary. At the heart of this effort was an investment in river infrastructure, including the construction of a research channel with a free flowing discharge of up to 10 m³s-1. Here, researchers were able to study sediment transport and, based on their findings, develop sustainable and innovative measures for improving the situation along the entire Danube river.

At the project’s conclusion, researchers were able to compare the problems of the upper and middle Danube. Specifically, they compared such characteristics as steep/shallow gradient, grain size of the gravel or sand bed and overall slope – all key indicators as to the level of accumulated or eroded sediment. With these measurements in hand, the project developed best practices in measurement and modelling strategies, including standardised protocols and manuals that could be used across the Danube and the Danube canal. Specifically, the project provided:

  • a scientific basis for analysing problems concerning sediment transport in Austria and Hungary
  • harmonised measuring and modelling systems, including standardised field reports and manuals
  • practical solutions for sediment management 
  • evaluation of existing laboratory equipment and measuring systems, and recommendations for updating  

Flowing into the future

Following SEDDON’s use of the research channel, it will be repurposed to serve as a supply line to a future hydraulic engineering laboratory, part of the European Strategy for the Danube Region’s (EUSDR) flagship “Danube River Research and Management” (DREAM)  project, which aims to improve river research infrastructure in the Danube River basin. The SEDDON project’s findings will also have an ongoing impact, as all results and management strategies have been made available to all Danube countries. 

Furthermore, a range of EU initiatives are benefiting from the project’s research, including the EU Renewable Energy Directive, EU Floods Directive and EU Water Framework Directive, not to mention the many stakeholders involved in hydropower, navigation and flood risk management, including national parks and NGOs. Last but not least, European citizens living along the Danube will be able to enjoy a sustainably managed river way and all the benefits it brings.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “SEDDON - Sediment Research and –management at the Danube River (SEDimentforschung und –management an der DONau)” is EUR 3 699 055, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 144 196 through the Operational Programme “Austria-Hungary” for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date