Danube River

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 28, 2022, 9:25

The Danube River is the second largest river basin in Europe. It has a total area of 801,463 km2, shared by 19 countries and over 80 million people in Europe. It is 2,857 km long and up to 1.5 km wide.

The Danube River Basin

The Danube River basin covers approximately 10% of Continental Europe. It is divided into three sub-regions the Upper, Middle, and Lower Basins. The Upper Basin of the Danube River extends from its source in Germany and flows into Bratislava in Slovakia.

The Middle basin is the largest among the three sub-regions. It flows from Bratislava to the Iron Gate Gorge dam lying on the border between Serbia and Romania.

Finally, Danube's Lower Basin extends from Romania and Bulgaria before flowing into the Black Sea, where the Danube River branches out into three sources forming the Danube Delta an area of 6750 km2.

The Danube River connects with 27 large and 300 small tributaries. There are also several lakes in the Danube Basin. The Tisza is Danube's longest tributary with a length of 96 km.

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Countries Sharing the Danube River

Country

Share in %

Romania

29%

Serbia

10.2%

Slovak Republic

5.9%

Slovenia

2.0%

Ukraine

5.4%

Austria

10%

Bosnia and Herzegovina

4.6%

Bulgaria

5.9%

Croatia

4.4.%

Czech Republic

2.9%

Germany

7.0%

Hungary

11.6%

Moldova

1.6%

Montenegro

0.9%

Switzerland

0.2%

Others

0.1%

Danube River Biodiversity

The Danube River is home to over 5000 animal species and 2000 plant species. It is a natural habitat for over 40 mammals, 100 fish species, 2000 vascular plants, and birds.

The Danube Delta hosts some of the rarest flora and fauna and has over 30 different types of ecosystems. The delta is located in the territories of Ukraine and Romania. It is one of Europe's largest natural wetlands and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

Environmental Threats to the Danube River

Recently, human activities like tourism and agriculture have polluted the Danube River network causing water pollution and loss of wetlands. The Danube holds an important economic value as the Danube countries depend upon the river for agriculture, tourism, power generation, navigation, etc. Several disasters have also affected the Danube River, with approximately 27% of the river not having a good chemical status and three of the major lakes in the Danube not achieving good ecological status.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River

To protect the Danube River Basin, in 1994, the Danube countries signed the Danube River Protection Convention (DRPC) and, in 1998, established the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).

15 contracting parties formed the ICPDR to implement the DRPC. Among the parties include the European Union, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

The objectives of the ICPDR are -

  • Controlling floods and ice hazards
  • Ensuring equitable and sustainable water management
  • Reducing pollution to the Black Sea from Danube catchment areas
  • Conserving, promoting, and improving the surface and groundwater of the Danube
  • Reducing wastewater discharge and inputs of hazardous substances.

The Danube River is a vital navigation corridor or transport route that connects the Black Sea with industrial harbour centres of Western Europe and with the Port of Rotterdam. The channelization of the river helps ships to navigate 2411 km or up to 87% of the Danube's length. It is a rich natural habitat, home to many flora and fauna, and must be protected.

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FAQs on Danube River

Q.1. When is Danube River Day celebrated?

Danube Day is celebrated on June 29 every year. People celebrate the Danube River and participate in developing its sustainable future.

Q.2. Why is the Danube River important for Europe?

With over 15 countries bordering the Danube River in Europe, its economic value is immense. The river is an important commercial source for agriculture, tourism, biodiversity, power generation, etc.

Q.3. In which country does the Danube River originate?

The Danube River originates in Germany and ends in the Black Sea.

Q.4. Is the Danube River the longest river in Europe?

Danube River is the second-longest in Europe. The Volga is the longest river in Europe. Rhine, Ural, Dnieper are some of the other longest rivers in Europe.