A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water.

Floodwaters of the Danube River often menace towns, villages and take human lives. Torrential rain can force thousands of people to flee their homes, while vast areas of farm and industrial land can be damaged. The frequency and intensity of flood events in the Danube River is expected to continue.  

Various studies have shown that restoring former floodplain areas, especially along the lower stretches of the Danube River, can yield multiple benefits not only in terms of enhanced flood protection, by soaking up floodwaters, but also for local livelihoods and nature.

Floodplains are natural retention areas that act like sponges. They are broad flat areas of low-lying land near rivers, lakes and coasts that act as a natural storage reservoir, allowing large volumes of water to be stored and slowly and safely released down rivers and into the groundwater.

A 2010 WWF study estimated the potential for floodplain restoration at about 800,000 ha along the Danube, about 500,000 ha of which along the Lower Danube. The study also showed that restoring floodplains would cost much less than the damages caused by floods, and, in addition, would provide important benefits to nature, people, and local economies.  

Human intervention in the Danube area has degraded and more than halved floodplains that can retain water and minimise flood impacts.

In 2000, the governments of Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine pledged to work together to establish a green corridor along the entire length of the Lower Danube River. The Lower Danube Green Corridor Declaration, recognized the need and responsibility of the four governments to protect and manage in a sustainable way one of the most outstanding biodiversity regions in the world.  The Lower Danube Green Corridor was created along the river’s final 1,000 km, covering an area of 11,574 km².

In 2010, ten years after the agreement was signed, the Lower Danube Green Corridor target for protection has been exceeded, with 1.4 million ha of wetland areas along the Lower Danube under some form of formal protection. Progress with restoration is further behind, but moving forward, with well over 60,000 ha realised to date. 


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WWF staff

Occupation: WWF staff
Location: Bulgaria


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floods | floodplain | wetland restoration