Water is stored as ice and snow in the mountains and partly released to the rivers in spring and summer. Alpine rivers are a freshwater source for large parts of Europe. It is needed for drinking water and households, irrigation, sports and hydropower. These uses sometimes compete with each other as well as with the needs of aquatic ecosystems. Water is also a major factor in natural disasters, such as avalanches and floods, permafrost melting and landslides, water scarcity and droughts. Water storage and precipitation are also affected by climate change.
That is why in Article 2, 2e the Framework Convention mentions water as one of 12 main Alpine issues and sets out the objective to “preserve or re-establish 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”.
Protocols and Declarations
Thematic Working Bodies
- Water Management in the Alps Platform (2009-2019)
Water issues are also an integral part of the activities of the EUSALP Action Group 6 on the “Preservation and valorisation of natural resources, including water and cultural resources”, which is led by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Province of Carinthia.
Selected Documents and Publications
Report of the Alpine-wide conference on water resources and Alpine rivers: adaptation to the challenges of climate change, organised under the French Presidency of the Alpine Convention, 18 & 19 February 2020, Annecy, France
- Application of the Common Guidelines for the use of Small Hydropower in the Alpine region (2019)
ForumAlpinum and 7th Water Conference: Water in the Alps - Management of hydrological extremes and of sustainable hydropower use, 5 June 2018
2nd Workshop on Drought Risk Management in the Alps, 23 January 2018
Expert Workshop on Drought Risk Management in the Alps, 14 September 2017
6th International Conference “Water in the Alps”: Water Management in a Field of Conflicting Interests: Between Natural Hazards and Nature Protection, as part of the AlpWeek 2016; Herrenchiemsee, Germany, 12 October 2016