LIFE Project Cover Photo

INADAR - Innovative and ecological approach for dam restoration

Reference: LIFE14 ENV/DE/000851 | Acronym: LIFE+ INADAR

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The banks of most water bodies containing dams today are covered with wave breakers made of concrete. They commonly do not host ecologically-rich habitats. According to the EU Water Framework Directive, these are considered to be significantly modified water bodies". Water resides longer in them, leading to possible higher water temperatures and eutrophication. Dam restoration activities mostly consist of replacing the old concrete, without improving the environment for flora and fauna. When dams have to be elevated, they become broader on the land side, which increases land consumption and has an impact on the floodplain forests. The approval procedures are time-consuming, and the costs for restoration and elevation of dams are quite high. Due to climate change, torrential rains and flooding are expected to occur more frequently, making it even more important to maintain dams in a reliable status and to quickly restore them. In some cases, it might be necessary to elevate dams to match the consequences of climate change. Under the EU Floods Directive, flood risk management has to be implemented to avoid major hazards for citizens.


OBJECTIVES

LIFE+ INADAR aimed to demonstrate a new approach for dam restoration, by implementing eco-berms in two hydropower locations in Germany: Offingen and Oberelchingen. Eco-berms make it possible to restore and elevate dams in line with the Floods Directive, and improve their ecological potential in line with the Water Framework Directive. The project partners would design efficient and cost-effective eco-berms that are suitable for dams of different functions. For both demonstration sites, detailed implementation plans would be developed with stakeholders. At the water storage area in Offingen, over 500 m of eco-berms would be constructed. In Oberelchingen, the water storage dam would also be restored and moreover elevated by 70 cm on a sector of more than 500 m. Recommendations would be developed for future implementation of eco-berms.


RESULTS

LIFE+ INADAR successfully demonstrated an innovative approach for dam widening and elevation, which yields manifold ecological and social benefits, and is about one third cheaper than the conventional approach. It reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions, as natural materials (e.g. stones, sediment, dead wood, with groynes and sealant material) replace concrete. The project team constructed eco-berms at two hydropower dams on the River Danube in Germany, at Offingen and Oberelchingen, over 500 m lengths in each case.

The idea behind the projects approach is to widen the dam not on the land side, which destroys valuable alluvial forest, but to add newly-developed eco-berms on the water side. Eco-berms make it possible to carry out restoration while: a) elevating the dam (after making it wider) in line with the Floods Directive; and b) improving ecological potential, as demanded by the Water Framework Directive, by creating nature-like habitats on the water-side of the dam. This increases both the efficiency and the cost-effectiveness of the measures.

Construction at Offingen was completed in March 2017, and the dam widening with eco-berms at Oberelchingen was finished in August 2017. The elevation part at the latter site will be completed after the eco-berm has settled and extended a further 1 500 m on both sides of the Danube. In July 2020 the authorities finally set the required dam elevation to 41 cm. This can easily be done as the dam is already widened.

The projects eco-berms are suitable for all dams, where the capacity of the river is not critical for flood protection, for example, water storage at hydroelectric power stations and on inland waterways. It is estimated that some thousands of kilometres of dams in Europe could be suitable for the INADAR approach. The demonstration value of the project is very high, because the effects are clearly visible, the sites are easily-accessible, and the riverbank stretches with and without eco-berms are next to each to provide direct comparisons. All stakeholders, including authorities, nature conservationists and fishing associations, were in favour of the win-win eco-berms, which offer multiple advantages, like legal compliance, lower costs, ecological enhancement instead of damage, increased fish populatLIFE+ INADAR successfully demonstrated an innovative approach for dam widening and elevation, which yields manifold ecological and social benefits, and is about one third cheaper than the conventional approach. It reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions, as natural materials (e.g. stones, sediment, dead wood, with groynes and sealant material) replace concrete. The project team constructed eco-berms at two hydropower dams on the River Danube in Germany, at Offingen and Oberelchingen, over 500 m lengths in each case.

The idea behind the projects approach is to widen the dam not on the land side, which destroys valuable alluvial forest, but to add newly-developed eco-berms on the water side. Eco-berms make it possible to carry out restoration while: a) elevating the dam (after making it wider) in line with the Floods Directive; and b) improving ecological potential, as demanded by the Water Framework Directive, by creating nature-like habitats on the water-side of the dam. This increases both the efficiency and the cost-effectiveness of the measures.

Construction at Offingen was completed in March 2017, and the dam widening with eco-berms at Oberelchingen was finished in August 2017. The elevation part at the latter site will be completed after the eco-berm has settled and extended a further 1 500 m on both sides of the Danube. In July 2020 the authorities finally set the required dam elevation to 41 cm. This can easily be done as the dam is already widened.

The projects eco-berms are suitable for all dams, where the capacity of the river is not critical for flood protection, for example, water storage at hydroelectric power stations and on inland waterways. It is estimated that some thousands of kilometres of dams in Europe could be suitable for the INADAR approach. The demonstration value of the project is very high, because the effects are clearly visible, the sites are easily-accessible, and the riverbank stretches with and without eco-berms are next to each to provide direct comparisons. All stakeholders, including authorities, nature conservationists and fishing associations, were in favour of the win-win eco-berms, which offer multiple advantages, like legal compliance, lower costs, ecological enhancement instead of damage, increased fish populat

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE14 ENV/DE/000851
Acronym: LIFE+ INADAR
Start Date: 01/08/2015
End Date: 31/07/2019
Total Budget: 1,417,105 €
EU Contribution: 655,100 €
Project Location:
Project Website: http://www.bew-augsburg.de

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Bayerische Elektrizittswerke GmbH
Legal Status: PCO
Address: Schaezlerstrae 3, 81650, Augsburg, Deutschland
Contact Person: Klocke RALF
Email: ralf.klocke@lew.de
Tel: +49-821-328-4031
Fax: +49-821-328-3840


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • River basin management
  • Water resources protection

KEYWORDS

  • water quality
  • restoration measure
  • water resources management

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Directive 2007/60 - Assessment and management of flood risks (23.10.2007)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Bayerische Elektrizittswerke GmbH Coordinator
LEW Wasserkraft GmbH Germany Participant
VGB(VGB PowerTech e.V.), Germany Participant
UIBK(Universität Innsbruck – Arbeitsbereich Wasserbau), Austria Participant

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