Watercourse management
© Eawag, WSL, ETHZ, EPFL

All over the world, the rehabilitation of rivers has become an important topic of watercourse management. This applies in Switzerland too. Numerous projects have already been carried out to improve the sometimes alarming state of rivers and streams.

No comprehensive overview currently exists of the success of such measures and the key factors that determine the success of a rehabilitation project.

The Rhone-Thur Project closes this gap. The results of this interdisciplinary research project are presented here.


The chapter on local river widening shows how channel widening contributes to achieving the aims of flood control, streambed stabilisation, ecological enhancement and an attractive recreational landscape. It also contains practical notes on the planning and construction of local river widening, and guidelines on the identification of promising (stretches of) watercourses.

The chapter on hydropeaking presents the results of research into the impacts of hydropeaking on the ecosystem of flowing water, using the Rhone as an example. There are also notes on revitalisation of hydropeaking stretches and measures for smoothing the surges.

The chapter on decision making addresses the issue of the context in which river engineering projects should ideally take place, and how important actors can be involved in the planning process. Indications are given of how potential conflicts can be recognised early on and possible consensus solutions worked out.

The chapter on project assessment shows how impacts of revitalisation measures on various ecological and socio-economic aspects can be evaluated. This permits both positive changes and lasting deficiencies to be identified. Foundations are provided for the selection and assessment of indicators, and project assessment.