The FAIRway Danube project, which was implemented by six Danube countries with a EUR 19 million grant from the European Network Facility (CEF), has been concluded.
Hungary’s National Waterways Directorate (OVF) explained in a press release sent to the state news agency MTI that the project, which ran from 2015 to 2021, aimed to harmonize the hydrological, hydrographic, waterway and navigation management tasks of Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania.
The participating countries purchased five modern measuring vessels equipped with sonars – multi-beam bathymeters – one of which was delivered to Hungary. The measuring vessels will be used to survey critical sections for navigation, fords and narrows, every year, they said.
As part of the program, the network of gauges in the Lower Danube countries has also been upgraded to record daily or even hourly changes in water levels. The modernization of water level forecasting was led by OVF staff. As changes in the water level of the Danube are crucial for the volume of goods to be transported, the most accurate forecast possible over several days greatly helps route planning.
In order to install and maintain buoys for safe navigation, the partners acquired four new marker boats, while in Hungary, three existing markers were equipped with point measuring equipment.
Also for safe route planning, the project included a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the Slovak-operated boat lock at Gabčíkovo.
According to the OVF, innovative solutions such as the use of drones in navigation and river management have been investigated and tests of smart buoys have been developed.
The WAMOS (Waterway Monitoring System) software, created as part of the project, will make waterway managers' work more efficient by providing data on river bed measurements, water levels and minimum navigation water levels. The system will display all relevant waterway information, which will help professionals to assess changes in the Danube, for example to decide on changes to the waterway management plan," the National Waterways Directorate said.
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