SPARE

Alpine rivers as society's lifelines

The Engadine, as an inner-alpine dry valley, is situated in the eastern part of canton Grison. The stream source of the Inn, with approximately 517 km one of the longest alpine rivers, is located in the Upper Engadine from where it follows the valley for about 100 km. The valley has two rather different landscape types: the Upper- and the Lower Engadine.

The lake scenery of the Upper Engadine is a characteristic, magnificent landscape. This large high mountain valley lies at an altitude of 1.600 to 1.800 m altitude and is enclosed by a mountain massif with altitudes up to 4.049 m. The Lower Engadine (1.600 to 1.000 m) is a closer V-shaped valley with a heavy gradient.

About 25.300 people live in the 15 communities of the Engadine. The most important economic sector in Engadine is tourism. Industry and commerce have a share of 20% and agriculture and forestry only 5%. The natural resources land and water are particularly scarce and are subject to different demands on their availability. Due to glacier melt and the forecast changes in streamflow, awareness about the protection and use of water resources is rising.

Within the SPARE project, an integrated river basin management plan for the 1.945 km2 Inn river basin will be developed. The aim of the project is to use participatory processes to balance the use and protection of water sources - that is, to consider the ecosystem services as well as human use in the Engadine region. The result will be an integrated, innovative management plan which contains a variety of projects whose implementation will enhance biodiversity and human welfare in the Engadine valley.

Angelika Abderhalden, eMail; eMail2