ECRINS map project pinpoints water information in Europe

News Published 18 Jul 2012 Last modified 15 Jul 2016, 11:23 AM
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Europe’s freshwater supplies are under pressure. To improve the understanding and management of water resources, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has created a comprehensive series of map layers showing hydrological features. The tool, providing support to policy makers, spans river catchments from Iceland to the edge of the Persian Gulf.
The river Churn in Cirencester

The river Churn in Cirencester  Image © Mark Philpott | flickr.com

The ECRINS map layers will be an extremely important tool for understanding water resources in Europe. The maps cover the EU and EEA member countries, and include data from many others – in fact covering 70 % of rivers in 10 million km 2 of river basins across continental Europe and the Middle East. Better access to information like this can help us use our finite water resources most wisely

Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director

The EEA Catchments and Rivers Network System (ECRINS) is a dynamic set of map layers displaying the location and characteristics of hydrological features such as lakes, dams, abstraction points as well as monitoring stations and sewage treatment plants. It covers river catchment information over the previous ten years. The maps directly support environmental analysis such as water accounts and policy-making. For example, one layer delineates all river catchments, which is useful for those working to implement the European Union’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) at the river basin level.

The ECRINS package is a public good, so is available to anyone, including European institutions, national water agencies, scientists, businesses, students and NGOs active in environmental assessments. Users need GIS (Geographic Information System) software to access the map layers.

The ECRINS layers can be combined with others, such as those focusing on population or agriculture, to build an increasingly detailed picture of the influences on Europe’s water resources. It is hoped that this will allow users to answer a number of different questions, such as 'How many people live upstream of this lake?', 'What is the flow discharge at this point?', 'How many cubic metres of water are abstracted to irrigate fields?', 'What is the annual water balance for this basin?', 'What is the length of accessible rivers below that dam?'

“The ECRINS map layers will be an extremely important tool for understanding water resources in Europe,” EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said. “The maps cover the EU and EEA member countries, and include data from many others – in fact covering 70 % of rivers in 10 million km2 of river basins across continental Europe and the Middle East. Better access to information like this can help us use our finite water resources most wisely.”

ECRINS has been built on the Catchment Characterisation and Modelling (CCM) system developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) with a resolution of 1:250 000. The CCM has been completed with other layers with a resolution between 1:100 000 and 1:500 000.

Ecrins Map

The geographical coverage of ECRINS goes beyond EU-27 and the EEA Member countries. All of continental Europe west of the Urals, the Caucasus region and the Tigris-Euphrates river system is catalogued. It includes an improved catalogue of names, meaning that particular river systems with several local names may be easier to find.

The layers are available as Geodatabase files which can be opened with well-known programmes such as Microsoft Access and ArcGIS. They are also compatible with GDAL/OGR open source applications.

 

 

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European catchments and Rivers network system (Ecrins) European catchments and Rivers network system (Ecrins) Version 1, Jun. 2012 - Ecrins is acronym for European catchments and Rivers network system. It is a geographical information system of the European hydrographical systems with a full topological information. Ecrins is a composite system made from the CCM developed by the JRC, Corine land Cover, WFD reporting elements, etc. It is organised from a layer of 181,071 “functional elementary catchments (FECs)” which average size is ~62 km2, fully connected with explicit identifier (ID) relationships and upstream area. Catchments are grouped as sub-basins, river basin districts (actual and functional to meet hydrographical continuity). The catchments are as well organised according to their sea shore of emptying to meet Marine Strategy delineations. Catchments are drained by 1,348,163 river segments, sorted as “main drains” (connecting together the FECs) and secondary drains (internal to a FEC). river segments mimic the natural drainage, however fulfilling the topological constraint of “0,1 or 2 upstreams, single or 0 downstream”. Each segment is populated with distance to the sea, to ease further processing. They are connected to elementary catchments and nodes documented with altitude. Segments are as well documented with a “dummy river code”, fully populated that earmark each segment with the most distant to the outlet in each drainage basin and, everywhere this has been possible, with a “true river” ID based on river naming. A layer of lakes and dams has been elaborated. Lakes polygons (70,847) are taken from Corine Land cover , WFD Art. 13 and in some cases, from CCM “water layer”. Lakes inlets and outlets are set with the segment ID and where relevant, the dams making the lake is documented. All lakes which depths and volume was found have been updated. Version 1.0 here presented still contain some topological errors (e.g. incorrect segment branching), because inaccurate geometry. They are noted and a correction procedure is underway.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100