Living with water

In the past, we used to protect ourselves against river water mainly with things like dikes, so by blocking the water. But now we try to live with water instead of fighting it. We give the river more space. And we have five ways of preparing for any flooding that might occur from time to time.


Water belongs

Water is part of the landscape. The water of the Rhine belongs to the space we use. We need to bear this in mind when shaping that space.

Water is simply part of it Photo: K. Wendling, LUWG Rheinland-Pfalz

Water is simply part of it Photo: K. Wendling, LUWG Rheinland-Pfalz


Retaining water

Water is retained for as long as possible throughout the Rhine’s catchment area. This is done by structures like locks and by setting up areas where the water can be stored for a time. If there is a lot of precipitation, the river does not have to carry it all at once. Precipitation is drained away slowly by the Rhine and its tributaries.


Space for the river

In the past we did not give the Rhine as much space as we do now. Leaving more space for water means that high water is less likely. We are doing this, for example, by increasing the size of the flood plains so that some of the polders are under water.

We think carefully about what we are doing when we build new factories, offices or homes. We try not to build in areas that might be flooded, because the Rhine needs space.

Space for the river goes hand in hand with protecting nature. Creating areas that might flood gives water and nature more space!

Natural landscape Photo: D. Putscher

Natural landscape Photo: D. Putscher


Know the danger!

High water and the dangers of too much water will always exist. We need to know these dangers so that we are not surprised by a flood, for example. For instance, people can look at a map or the Internet to see whether the place they live might be flooded if the water in the river gets very high.

Look at the map.



The water in the Rhine doesn’t respect borders. This is why various countries throughout the Rhine catchment area cooperate. Joining forces allows you to achieve more. Some problems have to be resolved together, especially things relating to protection against high water, but also water quality or protecting the environment along the river.

Read more about cooperation.