Spring Seminar - Socio-economic influences on the discharge of the River Rhine


Gallusstrasse 50
A-6900 Bregenz



Currently hydrological models to predict discharge for the Rhine include prediction of change under future climate change scenarios. However, it is expected that discharge will not only vary through climate change, but will also be influenced by future changes in socio-economic development within the Rhine basin. Notable changes in user functions influenced by population density, changes in land use for agriculture and forestry and energy and other industrial production are expected to influence the discharge of the Rhine.

In the past various projects have investigated changes in land use on the discharge of the Rhine, often with use of hydrological models. This has resulted in valuable insights into current and future changes in discharge functions of the Rhine.  However, up to now changes in socio-economic situation and resulting changes in water abstraction and use have to date received less attention within these models. In addition, the methods used thus far have been developed for specific models and may not be transferable to others making it difficult to compare results.

Before implementing a project that will have a focus on the socio-economic aspects that influence water use, the seminar will contribute to get a better focus on the state of the art on socio-economics at this moment. Within this first CHR spring seminar main current water use functions of different users functions will assessed on how these user functions could change under different socio-economic development scenarios. Planned is to have the focus on the low-flow situation, as it is expected that the user functions will have the largest influences under low-flow conditions.


To identify/assess the current use and future developments on abstraction and consumptive use by the most significant user functions (e.g. agriculture, energy and industry) in the international Rhine River basin.
How could these parameters change under influence of socio-economic developments and how can these changes be incorporated in the existing hydrological models?
The analyses of the current level of enforcement of past and current water-related policies will provide insight on the ability of different riparian countries to meet future requirements following from developments in climate and economic trends.