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Water and water management issues - Report on the State of the Alps

Year of publication2009
Publisher(s)Ständiges Sekretariat der Alpenkonvention
Place of publicationInnsbruck
Number of pages221
Integrated water management is one of the main issues for the sustainable development of the Alpine Region. Furthermore, surrounding areas also depend on the water from the Alpine Region for their development. Confl icts of interests therefore arise in relation to the use of water in the Alps. A sophisticated system of water management has been developed over many hundreds of years but this now faces new challenges due to both the increasing use of water and climate change. The current system of water management therefore needs to be duly and continuously adjusted to the prevailing conditions.
Water is inherently a crucial topic for the Alpine Convention, with the main objective of preserving or re-establishing healthy water systems, in particular by keeping lakes and rivers free of pollution, by applying natural hydraulic engineering techniques and by using water power, which serves the interests of both the indigenous population and the environment alike.
This second report on the State of the Alps has therefore been produced to promote discussions on "Water and Water Management Issues". It describes the integral understanding of "water management", the state of waters in the Alpine space, the relevance of the Alpine space for water supply to surrounding areas, as well as the challenges for future water management issues. Important examples include the design of new installations as well as the upgrade of existing ones for the production, transport and distribution of hydroelectricity in order to make optimal overall use of the existing infrastructure system in the Alpine region, taking into account the need for environmental protection.
It is also important to develop strategies on how to deal with water scarcity and droughts in the different regions of the Alps. This new report is the only existing overview document which includes such a rich background of information on the state of waters in the Alpine space.
The full report is available in English on the website of the Alpine Convention ( and the summaries in 5 languages (it, fr, de, sl, en) are available in paper version and on the website. The report is published in a special edition series of the "Alpine Signals" and represents a crucial component of the System for the Observation and Information on the Alps (SOIA).