Spatial Planning and Water Management in Germany

In Germany there are three levels of authority.

  • Federal Government
  • Federal States (Länder)
  • Municipalities (Kommunen)

The Federal Territory is devided into 16 Federal States (Länder).

The Federal Government enact a framework directive, whose compilance is obligatory. The actual responsibility for water - or particularilly flood - related issues lays on Länder level. Each Land has a Ministry of Environment, which is responsible for planning and decission making process of flood related issues. The Länder decide also about the priority which is given to waters with considerable flood damage.

In total, Germany has about 41.000 km of water courses, including river of first and second order. The corresponding catchment areas from Danube, Rhine, Ems, Weser, Oder, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea include a total area of about 360.000 km². Along these rivers flood prone zones are dedicated. These zones are flooded areas due to failure of public flood defence facilities. For highly endangered areas so called flood risk maps have been made, which are based on a 100 year flood.

                 Spatial Planning in Germany                                                     Water Management in Germany

Disadvantages from the German system

  • Many organizations; borders are overlapping
  • Tasks of the organizations are not always clearly distinguished (groundwater)
  • Tensions between water management and spatial planning

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Integrated flood management






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