Working with Nature Project database

General information

Name of navigation or waterborne transport infrastructure project Flood Spillway Rees
Project location (nearest town or city)Rees, Emmerich, Wesel
Key project objectivesThe nearly 90o elbow of the Rhine near the city of Rees is affected by intensive river bed erosion. Decline of navigable water levels is a remarkable effect. And the location of the City forms a bottleneck for river discharge. The City is exposed to danger of severe flooding. The construction of a Flood Spillway in the sinistral floodplain will reduce risk of bed erosion, maintain navigable water levels, minimize expensive bed load supply, relieve risk for floods and enhance nature's value.
Contact PersonMr. Dietmar Abel
Contact Phone+49 2066 418 34
PositionProject Manager
OrganisationWaterways and Shipping Office Duisburg-Rhein

Project data

Characteristics of environment
Inland waterway
Protected areas
Key project dates
Project is not in the planning phase. Date project planning started1995
Project has consents/approvals. Date approval was obtained
Project construction not yet started. Construction start date2009
Date project will be completed2015
Type of project
New construction or development
Maintenance program or initiative
Othermulti-purpose: navigation + flood control + nature development
Brief description
On the Lower Rhine ongoing river bed erosion causes harm to navigable water levels. By constructing a flood spillway passing the sinistral floodplain at the City of Rees a significant portion of river discharge will be transferred to the spillway starting to operate at a water level threshold of Mean Water Level +100cm. Reduced flow velocity in the main river channel will reduce risk of bed erosion. At the same time the City of Rees will be relieved from danger of severe flooding as the maxium peak of highwater level will be lowered by 8cm. While realising the project intensive compensation measures are performed within the construcion area aiming at enhancing nature´s value in the floodplain and societal interation of inhabitants needs (e.g. farming, recreation, nature conservation).
Indicative size
More than 10 million US$

Working with Nature philosophy

Were steps taken to understand the environment before any work was started on the development of the design of the project?
Before the legal planning procdure was started the best location for the flood spillway was selected from a variety of planing alternatives. Valuation crieria considered areas being nature-sensible for constructional interference. As a result a location for the spillway was selectd avoiding sensible aras and at the same time interferring such areas having low nature vales or being robust against interference.
Were stakeholders or potential partners involved from the very beginning in the initial process of identifying potential options or solutions and agreeing on a preferred option (i.e. instead of being consulted on already defined options)?
Stakeholders form nature conservation, farming, flood control,and administrational deputies from the local community level were inlcuded in the pre-selection process for the most compatible solution for the spillway loaction. Discussion meeting wih the contracted consultant and the above named stakeholders were organised by the Water and Shipping Office
Was a solution identified which provided a clear ‘win-win’?
Right form the beginning of the project it was clear that both commercial navigation and flood control will benefit from the flood spillway. Whilst pre- planning additional win-win-situations have been detected and implemented in the process. mainly nature conservation, farming, and recreation.
Was the project designed to work with and make use of natural processes (e.g. ‘letting nature do the work’)?
Did the project include benefits for nature or other environmental enhancements beyond what was legally required?
Partly: nature related compensation and enhancement is being carried out to an extent exceeding the required legal demands genereated by an Environmental Impact Aassessment (EIA)
Did the project follow, in order, the steps described in the Working with Nature Position Paper?
Including stakeholders (step3) and understanding the environment (step2) have been more or less a parallel process. The project objectives have been clear from the very beginning (step1). Project design has internally been started after step1 and has been revised and re-designed in the discussion and consultation process including stakeholders, with the final design as a result. The selected planning then served for the constructional planning and for the the legal plan approval procedure (EIA).
Reasons/motivation for taking this approach
The area of the Lower Rhine has to be regarded as sensible concerning land use reclamation and demands of political lobbyists like nature conservation, farming, flood control, or re-creation. By experience it is not useful to exclude stakeholders from the intention to realise such a big project like the flood spillway. Only including the people being responsible fopr decisions in that area leads to progress in the planning procedure and above that in the legal plan approval.
Cost implications
Costs were lower than the conventional approach to this type of project (i.e. cost savings were made)Can not really be calculated at the moment as the realisation phase is ongoing. Pure construction presumably causes lower costs, but need for compensation then will notably increase the project costs.
Additional funds were provided from third partiesYES ! As the project contributes significantly to flood control the legal body responsible for flood protection measures in that area remarkably contributed to the overall project costs (in this case: Federal State of Northrhine-Westfalia).
No extra costs compared to conventional approachCan not really be calculated at the momnet as the realisation phase is ongoing. At the moment theres are no numbers to compare traditional compensation costs generated by legal demands and the present situation including nature in the project itself.
Costs were marginally or significantly higher than a conventional approach to this type of projectCan not really be calculated at the momnet as the realisation phase is ongoing.
Percentage of the total cost that was an additional cost associated with adopting these elements of Working with NatureCan not really be calculated at the momnet as the realisation phase is ongoing.
Did existing legislation help or hinder your application of the Working with Nature philosophy?
The approach adopted did not help to meet legal obligations
Some of what was done was needed to meet existing legal requirements; part exceeded those requirementsWell known is that ecological damage caused by the construction has to be compensated due to legal demands (EIA, Act for Nature Conservation). Additionally well known is that fulfilling the minimum of the legal requirements does not lead to an effective project realisation and public acceptance. In that context exisiting legislation and the knowledge of the local societal and political situation indirectly helped to apply the WwN approach
No problems were experienced with existing legislation
The approach was not taken despite legal requirements
Legal requirements did not prevent the Working with Nature philosophy being applied
Further information
Webpage of Waterways and Shipping Office Duisburg-Rhein (contents in German)