Austrian parliament approves flood defence project on the Rhine

VIENNA, July 4 (Bernama-dpa) — Austria and Switzerland aim to invest €2.1 billion (US$2.25 billion) to improve flood defences on the Rhine River.

The Austrian parliament unanimously approved a state treaty to increase flood protection measures along a stretch of the border river before it flows into Lake Constance.

The agreement on the project was signed between Austria and Switzerland in May. The Swiss parliament still has to approve the pact. The two countries will share the costs equally.

The goal is to increase the river’s flow capacity.

At the moment up to 3,100 cubic metres of water per second can safely flow down the Alpine Rhine during periods of heavy rainfall. The plan is to increase it to 4,300 cubic metres per second.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2027 at the earliest, with completion 20 years later.

Over a length of 26 kilometres, more space is to be created for the water, which currently flows in a canal. The river is also to be restored to a more natural state. The aim is to better protect around 300,000 people in the lower Rhine Valley from flooding.