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Adapting the transportation infrastructure to climate change

Navigation on inland and coastal waterways is an environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Climate change and its potential impacts on the sea level, the water balance in river basins and on the othe elements of the system "waterway" may impair its efficiency.

KLIWAS: Impacts of climate change on waterways and navigation – Searching for options of adaptation. A research programme of the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS).

The four subordinated research institutions ofGerman Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS),

  • the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)
  • the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)
  • the Deutscher Wetterdienst - DWD (National Meteorological Service), and
  • the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW).

have been analysing since March 2009 the consequences of climate change for waterways and navigation to formulate appropriate strategies for adaptation. Targets of this research effort are, on the one hand, to safeguard the efficiency of this mode of transport and, on the other hand, to preserve the water quality and the habitats in rivers, canals, lakes, and coastal waters. This research association works in close cooperation with pertinent national and international scientific networks. It will advice the Federal government in matters of inland navigation and waterways and will contribute to the German Adaptation Strategy (DAS) to climate change. Moreover, they will be beneficial for other sectors such as agriculture, energy generation, and the insurance industry.


With the pilot project "Hydrology and Inland Navigation" - a precursor of the KLIWAS research programme - the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) had begun already in the year 2007 to compile a hydro-meteorological database of the German parts in all international (shared) river basins. The project also assesses the consequences of climate change on hydrology, transportation costs, and other economic aspects and derives options for actions in waterway management, inland navigation, and industrial branches requiring the transport of bulk goods.

Find more detailed informationen on the research programme on the KLIWAS Web site: (

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