Germany: Half a billion euros for ‘Room for the River’ in Saxony-Anhalt

In 2013 in Saxony-Anhalt the river Elbe flooded. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Euroluftbild

In Saxony-Anhalt half a billion euros has to be invested to protect the region from flooding. This room for the river programme consists of moving eighteen dikes backwards and creating nine new flood plains. The minister of environment of Saxony-Anhalt Claudia Dalbert said this to the regional government at the 24th of October in Magdeburg.

According to Dalbert these measurements have to be carried out as soon as possible. The whole package will create 12.500 acres for flooding and room for 250 million cubic metres of water. Over the last centuries the river Elbe lost its flood plains and in order to avoid more floods measurements are crucial. The minister thinks the investments have to be done by the national government and European funds.

Room for the River could create resilience in Saxony-Anhalt. Map: Medienwerkstatt

The minister expects the implementation of all measurements will take at least two decades. She emphasizes that adding ‘Room for the river’ to the national programme to protect Germany against floods before 2020 will improve this programme substantially.

In 2013 the river Elbe flooded and water levels rose to a record of 7.48 meters, about 5 meters above normal. South of the city of Magdeburg a dam burst and in the region also a dike breached. The disaster created a water surge of 40 kilometres long and the damage was estimated to be billions of euros. During this period in the region of Saxony- Anhalt more than 36.000 people were evacuated.