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Project review

The existing flood early warning system operating between Austria and Hungary is outdated. Its infrastructure is inadequate to satisfy today's requirements, data supply is not sufficiently flexible and this makes protection against flooding difficult in the downstream river sections.

The Hungarian Austrian Water Committee decided in March 2007 to put in place a joint flood early warning system for the entire river Raab basin.

Several meetings between the relevant organisations followed the decision, and a resolution was adopted that the desired early warning system would be implemented within the framework of the Austrian-Hungarian Cross Border Cooperation Program.

The planned model system will enable the authorities to estimate discharge for a given forecasting period on the basis of real-time precipitation, temperature data, flow gauge readings and the forecasted precipitation data. The method of the forecasting system is based on the harmonised operation of hydrological and one-dimensional hydraulic models.

The core of the early warning system is a continuous and comprehensive central forecasting server, which transmits data at pre-defined intervals to the sub-centres that will be deployed at the project partners. In addition to monitoring the results of the central model, these sub-centres will also be able to perform individual model tests and run their own scenarios.

Two-dimensional model tests will be carried out for selected high-priority areas of the downstream river section. Although these do not constitute parts of the early warning system, nevertheless these will contribute to improving system accuracy. The two-dimensional model will be an effective operative flood prevention planning tool as well.

The data provided by the system will be accessible to the public through the internet, allowing the stakeholders, affected people and businesses to obtain continuous and real time information about flow and peak discharge, or the risk of a pending flash flood event.

The cooperation of project partners will have a key role both in project management and the implementation of the early warning system. The experience of all project partners will be needed for setting up the system (calibration, verification) and for defining the requirements.

It is important for project partners to develop the foundations together, to carry out audits and tests together and to install system components together. This requires continuous exchange of information, experiences and intensive negotiations.

The lead partner will be Department 19A of the Federal State Government of Styria. Responsibilities in connection with PR activities will be carried out according to a communication plan. These will be carried out jointly by the project partners, or independently in special cases.

The most important cross-border regional development impacts of the project

As a result of the cross-border cooperation of the competent authorities, more effective assessment of flood risks will become possible. The model is an intertwined cross-border system, ranging from data collection, processing and calculation to evaluation and interpretation. This requires a long-term coordination and cooperation of the partners.

This cross-border flood early warning model will enable fast access to information about the river basin. This is the basis of the better assessment of regional and local flood events. Through the above achievements, the model results will also serve as the basis of protection of life and property across the borders. The model system is also an effective decision supporting tool in flood risk management and infrastructure development.

Partnership

The partners have distributed the project work according to the joint development of the project draft and their relevant interests along the river Raab as follows:

Lead partner - this role was assumed by Department 19A of the Federal State Government of Styria, responsible for water management planning and municipal water management.

The Department has extensive experience in developing and implementing early warning models (Mura-model) and professionally this Department is responsible for management of natural waters in Styria. Since Department 19A has been involved in several Interreg projects as a partner, it lends itself well to the role of lead partner both in project content and administrative terms. Therefore Department 19A will assume a key role in the project development process. The department has extensive experience and using this it will help in defining the data requirements of the early warning system, providing data from the areas serviced by the Department and also in connection with the scenarios and definitions needed for model utilisation. It will provide professional project management for the project administration.

The Burgenland Hydrographic Service as project partner will be professionally responsible for the part of the river basin under its scope of authority and will also be a user of the planned early warning system. Therefore, in addition to defining the project content, it will be responsible for data, the system definition for the area of Burgenland and for various scenarios.

The West Transdanubian and the North Transdanubian Environment and Water Directorates (both are the competent authorities within the river Raab basin in the areas under their scope of competence) will jointly develop the requirements and definitions needed for the Hungarian applications and the requirements of the two-dimensional model used in the Hungarian territory. The Directorates will provide the data relating to the sections of the river Raab in Hungary and for elaborating the scenarios and definitions needed for the utilisation of the model.