Measures within the IRIS project

Improved flood protection and ecological quality


IRIS stands for “Integrated River Solutions Austria”. While the first phase of the project was characterised by joint, overarching river basin planning, concrete projects are currently being finalised and implemented. The measures on the Traun, Pielach, Leitha, Lafnitz, Enns and Danube combine structural measures with nature-based revitalisation measures thereby combining flood protection with ecological goals.

The measures

In the IRIS project, rivers are given back part of the space that has been lost as a result of intensive river regulation. Rivers can thus once again flow more freely. Interconnected river spaces and floodplains are created characterised by intact ecosystems and great biodiversity. During flood events, these areas function like a sponge. They hold back the water and thus protect settlement areas from flood damage.

Such nature-based solutions have become an indispensable part of modern river management. They fulfill important ecological functions, contribute significantly to flood protection and are often more cost-effective than traditional protection measures, especially in the long term. The reason is that nature can develop here without major interventions and cost-intensive maintenance work, as is necessary in the case of technical structures, is not required.

Local physical protection measures for settlements and infrastructure complement the natural protective effect of nature-based solutions.

Modern river management

In Austria, rivers fulfil many functions that must be taken into account for river management. These include, for example, drinking water supply, navigation and energy supply, but also, for example, the importance of rivers as local recreation areas.

Within the IRIS project, measures were selected to create synergies and added value for people, nature and the environment.

Implemented measures in the pilot areas

LIFE – IRIS: From planning to improving living space