The Rhine connects millions of people from the Alps to the North Sea. With a length of 1233 km, its catchment includes nine states, an area of about 200,000 km2, 60 million inhabitants as well as important cities and fascinating landscapes. Consequently, the Rhine is culturally, historically and economically one of the most important rivers in Europe. The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) was founded in 1950 with the first common goal in history to reduce water pollution. The whole process got a new impetus with the chemical catastrophe at the Sandoz plant (near Basel) in 1986, which saw aquatic ecosystems being seriously damaged. This disaster led to a better integration of the issue of ecology into the tasks of the ICPR. Depollution and rehabilitation programmes with actions and measures were established. In the 1990s, severe flood events forced the ICPR to add flood prevention to its sustainability goals enabling a better protection of citizens. This chapter presents the common work of the countries aimed at protecting the Rhine basin and the most important environmental outcomes of this special and long-lasting partnership.
Part of the book: Achievements and Challenges of Integrated River Basin Management