New Study Shows Restored Floodplains Can Remove Significant Amounts of Nitrate Pollution in the Danube River Basin

The study was published in Issue 594 of Science for Environment Policy (SfEP), the free news and information service published by the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission. The study offers promising results for those working to improve water quality and reduce nitrate pollution in the Danube River Basin. By restoring floodplains and reconnecting cut-off water bodies, we can help ensure that the Danube River and its tributaries remain healthy and thriving for generations to come.

Nitrates are commonly used in agriculture and can find their way into rivers and streams, leading to increased nitrogen levels and pollution. This can devastate aquatic life and ecosystems, making it critical to find effective ways to reduce nitrate pollution in rivers.

The study emphasizes the importance of addressing water quality issues in the Danube River Basin and the need for continued efforts to reduce nitrate pollution in rivers. Restoring floodplains and reconnecting cut-off water bodies are among the potential solutions that can be implemented to address this critical issue.

The findings indicate that reconnected floodplains and streams could increase the overall nitrogen retention in surface waters by 15% basin-wide. By utilizing the potential of reconnected floodplains and streams, up to 38,000 tons of nitrate pollution would be removed from the entire river basin system, 7.5% of the current overall nitrogen emissions entering river basin surface waters.

The study's results are a positive step forward in addressing this issue, demonstrating that restoring floodplains and reconnecting cut-off water bodies with the Danube River can significantly impact removing nitrates from the water. By improving water quality and reducing pollution as well as providing valuable aquatic habitat, these actions can help to protect the health of the river and its surrounding ecosystem.


Editorial: ICPDR, Photo credits: BML / Alexander Haiden

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