Danube Water Balance project aims to improve the effectiveness of the joint, transboundary and cross-sectoral water management in the Danube River Basin (DRB) to cope with water quantity issues. The project will deliver a basin-wide water balance model for surface and groundwater, tested in transboundary sub-basins along with climate scenarios application. It will foster improving data management and capacity building by preparing a common training material and establishing an expert hub.

Project description

The extreme and trend like climate change impacts cause significant water balance issues in the Danube River Basin (DRB), already posing major challenges also for the environment, the economy and the whole society. Water management in the DRB is characterized by scattered data availability and various national calculation methods, ultimately leading to country-scale or sub-regional mosaics about the water balance. A jointly developed data management and a water balance model is needed to cope with the transnational water quantity challenges of the basin. The Danube Water Balance project aims to overcome this situation and contribute to sustainable, integrated transnational water management in the DRB. The overall objective of the project is to develop a harmonized water balance modelling system in the DRB. Our main outputs will cover four fields: 1. Improved data management for present and future water balance calculations. This will consist of (i) a data repository for all input and output data of the model, (ii) a set of tools supporting input data collection, validation, conversion and result visualization and interpretation and (iii) a new data management strategy providing a sound basis for data related activities of future water balance and water management modelling. Both the data repository and the tools will be open access, therefore the list of beneficiaries extends from water experts using the developed model through experts from other water related fields to decision makers willing to understand the main characteristics of the DRB as a hydrological system. 2. The state-of-the-art, open-source water balance model for the DRB, that allows the quantification of water balance components for the entire basin and for selected areas of interest. The model will be calibrated and validated against measured data collected and processed by jointly defined data management protocols, assuring the common acceptance of model results. The foreseen afterlife of the water balance model is a fully functional water management model of the basin, by which a more reasonable, sustainable and adaptive water management can be achieved in the long run. 3. Elaborated water balance scenarios for 4 selected transboundary sub-basins, namely Morava (CZ, SK & AT), Tisa (HU, SK, RO, RS & UA), Upper Sava (SI & HR), and Drina (RS & BA). This key action within the project will be the cornerstone of future cooperation by providing a good exercise for our international experts to test and enhance the the Danube River Basin Water Balance model (DRBWBM) and the founded common data repository. 4. Improved stakeholder insight into transboundary water balance methodology: strong emphasis will be put on sectoral stakeholder involvement and capacity building in the project. Besides the essential technical modelling steps, it is planned that several trainings will be carried out and an expert hub will be established that will consist of modelling experts, water managers, and other professionals from water-related sectors. This approach will ensure that water experts, universities and all interested stakeholders will benefit from the project results and their ability to carry out transnational projects on transboundary water issues is greatly enhanced. The tangible novelty of our proposal is the long-overdue common water balance calculation methodology for the whole Danube basin, tested in transboundary sub-basins, using climate scenarios and the data repository. This will improve river basin management planning measures required by the Water Framework Directive. A less tangible novelty of the proposed project is the extensive partnership and expert hub deeply committed in maintaining the framework and methodology for determining the water balance of the basin. This will also help finding synergies between the water resource management and other ongoing environmental initiatives within the DRB: consultation will be organized with relevant partners of other projects, especially with Expert/Task Groups of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ASP1) and organizations with observer status in the ICPDR. These include the International Hydrological Programme of the UNESCO (IHP/Danube) as well as representatives of e.g., waterways & transport and nature conservation. The DRB is one of the most diverse transboundary river basins of the World in the sense that 14 countries share over its territory with different cultural, societal and economic backgrounds. Therefore, it was essential to establish a broad partnership for the implementation of this project. All the 14 DRB countries are represented in the project with the involvement of 20 PPs from 11 countries (6 from 3 non-EU ones) and 13 ASPs. It is the first time that all Danube countries would work jointly to achieve a better understanding and a common interpretation of the water balance in order to lay the foundations of improved water management.

Project acronym: Danube Water Balance

Project title: Development of a harmonized water balance modelling system for the Danube River Basin

Budget:  2 999 983 EUR 

Duration: 30 months

Lead partner organisation: OVF (Hungary) & unofficially co-leader: Serbia  

Project overview

Start date:

25 June 2024

Status: ongoing

End date:

25 June 2024



80.00 %

funded by ERDF





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Norbert Csatari

International project coordinator

General Directorate of Water Management of Hungary 1/D Márvány St. Budapest 1012

Olivia Barta

International project coordinator

General Directorate of Water Management of Hungary 1/D Márvány St. Budapest 1012

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