01 October 2021 / Vienna, Austria
Prepared to be Unprepared: A Webinar on Extreme Weather Events and How to Limit the Damage
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
03 October 2021

On 29 September 2021, the fourth Danube Water Program KnowNow Webinar brought valuable insights about global warming-related extreme weather events and helpful responses that can increase the water sector’s resilience and ability to secure water service provision.

Keynote speaker Klaus Haslinger, Head of Section Climate System and Climate Impacts at the Climate Research Department of the Austrian Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, walked the audience through a very compact overview of the already noticeable impacts of climate change and the perspectives for the future. His message was that that changes in land use and losses of river retention volumes increase the impacts of flood events, and that trends point to a steady increase of drought risks for the southern and southeastern regions of Europe.

Panelist Alanna Simpson, World Bank Lead Desaster Risk Expert on Flood Risk Management, pointed out that in many cities in the Danube region, existing flood protection mirrors decades-old design standards and that those systems are increasingly at risk of being overwhelmed in intense rainfall events. Ms. Simpson advocates investments in modern flood protection because they pay a triple dividend by preventing costly damage and protecting valuable ecosystems while simultaneously stimulating the economy.

Next, Ms. Andreja Susnik, Drought expert at the ARSO Drought Management Centre for Southeastern Europe, described the disparity between the ongoing changes and the available management capacities. Change, she said, was already upon us. What used to be occasional summer droughts is now an array of summer, autumn and winter droughts, and the impact is now reaching beyond agriculture to other vital sectors.

Mr. Filip Wanner, Head of the Technology Department of Energie AG Bohemia, confirmed this, reporting serious impacts of the recent flood and droughts in the Czech Republic on the drinking water supply, including dramatic reductions of ground water and river water levels. Mr. Wanner described short-term mitigation strategies and the necessary expensive investments utilities will face in the near future.

Andreja Susnik summed up the following lively discussion, saying “I'd recommend to think Green”, adding that “integrated water management is the magic word”.

Raimund Mair then closed the session, inviting the audience to register for the coming Danube Water Conference “Building a Resilient and Water Secure Danube Region”.

We extend this invitation to you, dear reader: Many of the issues raised during the webinar will be treated in-depth during the the 2021 Danube Water Conference “Building a Resilient and Water Secure Danube Region”, October 18-20. You do not even have to travel to attend: The conference will be held as an online event.

For all infos inlcuding agenda and registration for the Conference as well as for a full report on the KnowNow webinar and a video stream follow the links below.

VoD - 2021 Danube Water Conference

The 2021 Danube Water Conference “Building a Resilient and Water Secure Danube Region” will be convened on October 18-20 followed by Business Meetings on October 21 (by invitation only)....

VoD - Prepared to be Unprepared: Response of the Water Sector in the Danube Region to Extreme Weather Events

The Danube Water Program “KnowNow” webinar series focuses on up-to-date topics relevant for the water sector in the Danube region. This webinar will focus on the water sector’s response to extreme weather events to increase ...