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River management

Rivers are fundamentally complex systems, which are also multimodal corridors, where nature conservation, water management and tourism, as well as water transport, must be well integrated. Depending on their size and location, as well as their regulation, conflicts arising from their use also change: somewhere there is a conflict between the cruise ship traffic and alevins (very young fishes), and elsewhere there is a conflict between those interested in natural water management and water base protection, fishing and water tourism. Thus, the main task in the case of a river management is to preserve the features of the river, to keep it stable in the sense of quantity and quality that people are accustomed to. Of course, this is no longer an easy task just because rivers like to meander - their general reaction is to move and change. The emerging meanders, the possibilities of which are determined by the nature and availability of the so-called large riverbed, are characteristic features of the rivers. The meanders thus both affect and determine the drainage possibilities of the river flood and ice: the developed meanders are an obstacle to ice and flood. This can be helped by a meandering crossing for less regulated rivers or by a bypass channel for better regulated rivers. Of course, the meandering crossing is temporary, as the river will respond to this necessary “straightening” with another meandering dynamics over time and start all over again.

Meeting the growing territorial and safety needs of man, many rivers, especially the larger ones, are heavily regulated in order to keep the human environment stable and thus safe ice and flood drainage. Yet embankments were typically built along the old meandering crossings.

As watercourses have become more hectic, the importance of the small watercourse has also increased in the case of larger rivers. This is because the necessary dynamics of the riverbed are created here as well, and it is subjected to more intensive use, which unfortunately can also lead to a natural deepening of the riverbed. Of course, the dynamics of the riverbed has its effect not only vertically but also horizontally, since the bends (whether medium or small water) create a series of pools and thresholds. Where in the case of smaller rivers the concept of a wader still hints at the possibility of actual “passing”, but in shipping and especially in freight transport this already means a diving restriction today. Of course, these thresholds are also useful elements of rivers, as they play a significant role in maintaining small waters so that the water surface does not “slip” down to the next pool, and so on. This is beneficial and essential not only for waterborne transport, but also for water base protection, irrigation and the riverside ecosystem.

As society’s needs for rivers and riparian areas grow and become more layered, neither the quantity nor the quality or space requirements of water will be easier to manage, improve or increase. The rate of wastewater treatment has greatly improved in recent decades, but water use has also intensified. More and more rubbish is appearing on the rivers, and more and more illegal pollution is present, on which loads from agricultural areas - both through rain and floods - are only exacerbating the situation. These cannot be addressed by the water sector alone, their actual solutions are only possible through unified social views and wills. Everything that gets into the rivers through the above loads is put back into circulation by irrigation, coastal ecosystem, water tourism (beach), so to us humans as the main users.

It can be seen that river management has nowadays become more of a conservative river regulation, where farming is mostly made up of satisfying many quantitative and qualitative and space requirements. Doing so in such a way that the society along the given river does not even notice that the engineer is “interfering” with the medium he knows or would restrict the use of water to some extent. And in the future, this more hectic water regime will make it increasingly difficult.

We hope the future will eventually be like the picture: serene and peaceful along the water.