International RiverFoundation has awarded the inaugural IRF European Riverprize to the River Rhine.

The award was presented at the Riverprize Gala Dinner in Vienna on Thursday 12 September. The IRF European Riverprize is worth €40,000 and is sponsored by Coca-Cola Europe.

The River Rhine received the award for remarkable achievements in integrated river basin management following a 50 year legacy of river degradation and a devastating chemical accident in 1986. The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR), and other stakeholders in the basin have successfully implemented urban wastewater management strategies and dramatically improved the water quality of the Rhine.  Additionally, in the past 15 years, the adoption of new, integrated policies has resulted in the restoration of a substantial area of floodplains in the densely populated Rhine delta.

The European Riverprize Judging Panel, comprised of an all‐European panel of experts, selected the River Rhine as the winner as they were able to clearly demonstrate leadership, sophistication and an integrated, complex approach to river basin management whilst overcoming a range of challenges and achieving real on-ground outcomes for river and species health.

The River Rhine will now automatically qualify as a finalist for the Thiess International Riverprize in 2014.

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