The new “DaReM – Danube Rehabilitation Measures” project, co-financed with European funds, is set to help remove sediment from the Hrušov reservoir and its surroundings. This well help ensure trouble-free international navigation on the Danube. The project kick-off and coordination meeting was held today in Bratislava.

The objective of the project is to rehabilitate the navigation channel of this international waterway, which has become clogged with sediment as a result of extraordinary flood events. Total project costs are estimated at €9,750,000. Up to 85% of these funds are covered by a grant from European Union funds (the maximum amount of the grant provided from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is €8,287,500) and is co-financed at a level of 15%. The state-owned enterprises VODOHOSPODÁRSKA VÝSTAVBA and SLOVENSKÝ VODOHOSPODÁRSKY PODNIK from the Ministry of Environment and the budgetary organisation Waterborne Transport Development Agency will all collaborate on the project, while the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic is the grant beneficiary.

“We support all modes of transport and I am pleased that things are moving forward in water transport, in addition to roads and railways. We’ve managed to secure European funds for this project. We have shown that we know how to complete for grants with quality projects in the area of water transport,” said Arpád Érsek, the Minister of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic.

“The Danube is our largest and most important river and the measures we are taking have the highest priority. Water transport is one of the most ecological forms of transport and we want to help it develop. This project will undoubtedly help in its development,” added László Sólymos, Minister of Environment.

“The strategic goal of the DaReM project is to increase the efficiency, reliability and therefore the competitiveness of water transport around the Hrušov reservoir along the Danube waterway, which is a part of the TEN-T trans-European transport network. Among other objectives, the goal is to improve the sustainability of water transport between Slovakia and other countries on the Danube waterway and to support this environmentally sensitive mode of transport in accordance with European Union policy,” said Director of the Waterborne Transport Development Agency, Ing. Martin Boroš.

Economical and ecological water transport on the Danube primarily depends on stable conditions in the navigation channel. The regulated section near the Hrušov reservoir from rive km (rkm) 1830 to rkm 1868 is characterised by variable hydro-dynamic conditions, flood states and frequent changes in the navigation channel. A significant increase in sedimentation at the Hrušov reservoir (rkm 1845) is primarily the result of flooding in 2003, 2009 and 2013.

“Hrušov reservoir has been clogged for several years. This is, of course, a natural phenomenon, where sediment and debris reach us from the surrounding countries, but especially attributable to sedimentation that occurs in sudden events, which we refer to a flash event. Outside of flooding events, approximately 400,000 cubic metres of debris sediment are deposited in the reservoir per year, with up to 1.5 million in the event of flooding. For instance, significant changes were recorded in the morphology of the bottom of the reservoir after floods in 2009. Given that standard dredging is no longer sufficient, we proceeded to prepare this, for us, critical project together with other partners. I am pleased that its tremendous importance was confirmed by its approval” said Daniel Kvocera, CEO of the state-owned enterprise Vodohospodárska výstavba.

 

With the goal of preserving good ecological conditions on the section of the Danube where work is scheduled to be performed, an integrated planning approach will be followed with respect to the primary principles of the International Committee for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and the necessary environmental assessment activities will be completed. The project also includes collaboration with conservation associations and organisations and with the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic.

Regular removal of sediment from the navigation channel in the Hrušov reservoir is performed by the state-owned enterprise Slovenský vodohospodársky podnik, štátny podnik (SVP, š. p.).

“Slovenský vodohospodársky podnik, and specifically its Bratislava offices, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the navigation channel on the international Danube water course in addition to other water management and public service activities, and this of course involves the Gabčíkovo Waterworks and all its components, such as the Hrušov reservoir and the upstream and downstream channels. To ensure smooth navigation, our company’s priority is on monitoring the condition of the Danube riverbed and the individual parts of the waterworks and then working to modify and maintain the navigation channel through dredging and the actual demarcation of the navigation channel. Thanks to the DaReM project, our company will be able to fulfil our tasks in a more expedient and efficient manner, which helps improve smooth and trouble-free navigation on the Danube,” added CEO of SVP, š. p.

Critical sedimentation points will be identified within the project, with methods for their removal, storage and reuse also recommended. The project includes the acquisition of the equipment needed to perform the work. Recultivation work using excavators is then set to follow. A pilot project set to last until the end of 2020 functions to confirm the results of the study. Once complete, efforts to remove sediments will continue in the coming years.