European Riverprize

European Riverprize award winners

2016 – Segura River, Spain

Winner: Segura River Project

The Segura River Project was developed by the Murcia Government’s Regional Water Department in partnership with the Segura River Authority and town councils in the region. It aims to restore the health of the Segura River and to supply reclaimed water to the booming agriculture industry.

Between 2001 and 2010, 100 water treatment plants and 350 kilometres of wastewater collection systems were built. In addition, a wastewater reclamation levy was established to finance the operation, maintenance and monitoring of these systems, applying the principle ‘the polluter pays’.

A major breakthrough was achieved in 2003 when the quality of the Segura’s water started improving. Since 2010, pollution has been unnoticeable, leading to the recovery of fauna and flora including increased otter population in parts of the river they had once abandoned. Birds now rest at two recovered wetland areas recognised by the Ramsar Convention, during their migration between Europe and Africa. In addition, around 110 million m3 of reclaimed water is reused annually for agriculture in the region.

“I sincerely would like to thank the International RiverFoundation for an award that reinforces our commitment to continue working in the restoration of the Segura River. The European Riverprize also encourages us to join the IRF’s admirable international task of river recovery and offer our experience with the hope of helping others.” – Miguel-Angel Rodenas, President, Segura River Basin Authority.

“The Segura river management is a great example of an integrated approach with environmental, social and economic restoration activities. The established management framework includes a solid science foundation and shared governance, while the catchment management planning process was ahead of the European legislation requirement. These demonstrated innovations created almost a miracle under the scorching sun of Spain!” – Bart Fokkens, Chair of the European Centre for River Restoration.

Previous European Riverprize award winners

European Riverprize – 2015

2014 – River Mur

European Riverprize – 2014

2013 – River Rhine

  • Winner: Freiland Environmental Consulting Civil Engineers & Office of the Styrian Government – Department 14 | River Mur, Austria

    In collaboration with the Styrian Government (Department 14 – Water Management, Resources and Sustainability) freiland Environmental Consulting Civil Engineers worked to restore priority stretches  of over 22km of the River Mur, which has been badly degraded by widespread development since the late 19th century. Since 1997, extensive work has been done to re-establish the natural conditions of the river and restore natural habitats for the many species that rely on the river and surrounding environment. This has benefited both the environment and the communities in the area, with additional activities including increased flood protection and the creation of leisure and nature activities for local residents.

    Finalists:

    Danube River Network of Protected Areas | Danube River, Transnational (Europe)
    Regional Association for Natural Conservation and Sustainable Development | Danube River, Slovakia

  • Winner: International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine | River Rhine, Transnational (Europe)

    The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine had remarkable achievements in integrated river basin management following a 50 year legacy of river degradation and a devastating chemical accident in 1986. The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR), and other stakeholders in the basin have successfully implemented urban wastewater management strategies and dramatically improved the water quality of the Rhine.  Additionally, in the past 15 years, the adoption of new, integrated policies has resulted in the restoration of a substantial area of floodplains in the densely populated Rhine delta.

    Finalists:

    Duero River Basin Authority | Orbigo River, Spain
    Regional Government of Carinthia | Upper Drau, Austria
    WWF Danube Carpathian Programme | Mura, Drava and Danube Rivers, Transnational (Europe)

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