Water resources management on the river-basin scale as the EC Water Framework Directive
demands, flood control, and also the maintenance of rivers as navigable waterways constitute together a highly complex task. The understanding of the consequences
of anthropogenic interventions in river ecosystems presupposes knowledge of the impacts that have to be expected. Only then decisions can be taken that ensure
adequate consideration of the interests of river-landscape protection as well as the social use interests. For this reason the German Federal Institute of
Hydrology (BfG) initiated the development of a Decision Support System (DSS) with the example of the River Elbe in the process of pooling the results achieved
within the BMBF Research Association 'Elbe Ecology'. The DSS pilot version has the purpose to make knowledge on the interactions of natural and anthropogenic
factors available for administrative tasks and policy decision making in a user-friendly and practice-oriented way. Further a DSS is also a tool for communication
and discussions between scientists and decision-makers. Now, this approach has to stand the practical test to identify options for further developments.
In the present version, the functionalities are organised in form of examples covering the topics water quality/reducing pollutant loads, flood control/flooding
risks, ecological state of floodplains, navigability, as well as external scenarios such as climate change, agricultural policy, and demographic developments.