In recent years, the Elbe river basin was confronted with great flooding events, such as the most extreme one in 2002 (Fig. 4.5).

Within the ELLA-project the following countries cooperate: Germany, Chech Republic, Austria, Poland and Hungary (Freistaat Sachsen, 2006). The Ella

Fig. 4.5 Images of Elbe flooding

partnership takes the trans-national requirements as starting point, because land use in the upper reaches of the river affect the water level in lower reaches. Measure taken in lower reaches can only be effective if they are matched by water and land use management upstream. Preventive flood protection is not a simple water management task, but requires a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and trans-national examination of the flood risks and possible preventive measures. Spatial planning measures and instruments can contribute to prevent flood damage.

The spatial measures are divided in five categories (Fig. 4.6).

Fig. 4.6 Five fields of activity in the Elbe river catchment area (Source: Freistaat Sachsen, 2006)

1. Protection of existing retention areas. The flood plains and zoning of flood areas need to be defined in spatial plans. Flood plains need to be represented in land use plans or building development plans. Undeveloped flood plains need to be protected outside settlements and construction needs to be prohibited. Conflicts regarding land use in or around retention areas need to be solved;

2. Redevelopment of former retention areas and polders. Potential retention areas and polders need to be protected in spatial and land use plans. Potential retention areas need to be protected against inappropriate use. Conflicts regarding land use in and around potential retention areas and polders must be solved. Spatial planning procedures need to be completed in order to protect the sites;

3. Retention of rainfall in the catchment area. Flood originating areas, like precipitation or discharge, need to be integrated in spatial plans. Land use guidelines need to be developed to reduce the discharge in the main flood originating areas. Cooperation programmes with land users and water management authorities must be initiated. Retention and water use concepts need to be integrated in planning and re-planning of settlements;

4. Reduction of damage potential. Drawing up and provision of risk maps, which are to be integrated in regional plans, building development plans and flood management systems. New buildings in risk zones need to be prevented or precautionary measures to reduce damage must be taken;

5. Technical flood protection measures like dikes, dams or retention basins, which are mainly part of regular water management with little spatial impacts or spatial contributions.

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