German-Polish study of the Neisse river feeds into measures to reduce climate change impact on water supply

The Lusatian Neisse, which forms part of the German-Polish border, is a crucial source of water for the communities located on either side. The Neymo project, jointly conducted by partners in Saxony and Lower Silesia, looked into the likely effects of climate change on this shared asset for a large part of its catchment area. It generated datasets, methodology and information in order to lay the foundations for sustainable management of these water resources. 

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A map of Germany’s Dresden region and Poland’s Dolnośląskie region ©  EU A map of Germany’s Dresden region and Poland’s Dolnośląskie region © EU

" The Neymo project has facilitated sustainable management of water resources in the Lusatian Neisse river basin, a catchment that is still being transformed by human activity, by providing analysed data and modelling results of the present and future climatological and hydrological conditions of this area. "

Karin Kuhn, Head of Division Surface Water, Water Framework Directive / Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology

How will climate change affect the Lusatian Neisse? The Neymo project, which was launched in August 2011, collected data, modelled processes and conducted analyses to develop projections for the part of the river located along the border between Saxony and the adjoining Polish territories. Based on this information, it formulated recommendations for measures that would enable the stakeholders to manage these water resources more sustainably.

While the project focused on the part of the catchment area located in the Saxon-Polish border area, its analyses of the water balance necessarily took account of the part located in the Czech Republic, where the river originates.

A transboundary resource

Neymo set up joint data collections, analyses and projections, which had previously been lacking, in order to offer insight into the status and probable evolution of the water resources and the climate in the area under consideration. Coherent, validated databases were created for both topics, providing input for hydrological and climate modelling and comprehensive analyses in a subsequent phase of the project.

Projections of the water balance were generated for various scenarios, which notably took account of the implications of the surface mining operations in this region. Key questions the project considered in its work included the current and future demand for water along this part of the Neisse, the availability of this resource, and the consequences of potential changes for the users.

The partners also developed a common approach to the interpretation of observed and projected climate data. The outcomes of their joint research fed into recommendations for the preservation and sustainable management of the available water resources.

The underlying databases were central to the research. To create them, the partners combined and completed existing datasets from Saxony and Poland, creating a pool of material that should also prove useful to other research efforts in the future.

Information for sustainable management

The joint research in Neymo established a solid foundation for further cross-border collaboration, notably on measures furthering the aims of the European Water Framework Directive. It led to the development of an action plan for the region, provided a basis for the establishment of a dedicated environmental information system and helped to foster greater awareness of the issue among the various stakeholders.

The project, which ended in March 2015, was led by the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology and was implemented in cooperation with the Wroclaw branch of the Polish national Institute of Meteorology and Water Management.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Neymo  Lausitzer Neiße/Nysa Łużycka – Klimatische und hydrologische Modellierung, Analyse und Prognose” is EUR 1 123 472, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 954 708 through the Operational Programme 'Poland-Germany (Saxony)' for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Cross-border development”.

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