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Water Management

In the trilateral Wadden Sea Region water management is the backbone of living and working in the low-lying coastal areas.
Therefore, the WSF put emphasise on this issue by preparing papers and excursions.

Danish Delegation of SAGRO – May 2022

On 3-4 May 2022, the WSF planed and organised the next excursion on water management along the West Coast of Schleswig-Holstein. This excursion focussed on the relationship between water management and agricultural use of low-lying coastal areas. Questions related to water management infrastructure and the ideas and concept how to adapt to climate change played an important role. Additionally, existing retention ponds and projects on waterlogging in peaty areas in the hinterland were visited. You may find the entire program here.


The excursion was accompanied by Mr Thies Horn, Managing Director of the Water Board Deich- und Hauptsielverband Südwesthörn-Bongsiel, and Mr Matthias Reimers, Managing Director of the Water Board Deich- und Hauptsielverband Dithmarschen for the coastal part of water management issues. Other issues are covered by representatives of the Water Board Eider-Treene-Verband and from the farmers’ association of Nordfriesland and Dithmarschen and Schleswig.

Danish Delegation of Esbjerg Kommune – September 2021

On 23-24 September 2021, the WSF organised an excursion along the West Coast of Schleswig-Holstein dealing with the topics of water management, coastal protection and tourism. The excursion of a Danish Delegation of the Esbjerg Kommune was accompanied by Mr Thies Horn, Managing Director of the Water Board Deich- und Hauptsielverband Südwesthörn-Bongsiel, and Mr Matthias Reimers, Managing Director of the Water Board Deich- und Hauptsielverband Dithmarschen.

Danish Delegation at the Eider Barrier
Presentation on water management in the trilateral Wadden Sea Region at the Multimar Wattforum, Tönning by Dr. Frank Ahlhorn.

WSF Reports on Water Management

WSF Water as Leverage - Final Report 2022

Working on a Trilateral Approach for “Water as leverage” (2022)

Climate change is a fast growing threat affecting the Wadden Sea Region with the World Heritage site Wadden Sea and its hinterland, where people live, work and recreate. The WSF took a closer look on the impacts of climate change to the hinterland, emphasizing that climate change is an inclusive challenge for the entire WSR affecting both the areas in front of and the cultivated landscape behind dikes. As the society in general is used to keep their traditions, changes in behaviour and perceptions need to be initiated and supported in a slow but long lasting process. Herein, the “Water as Leverage” methodology introduced by the Program towards a rich Wadden Sea (PRW) offers a promising approach. The WSF was asked to support the percolation of this approach into the Wadden Sea Region. Consequently, this report has been prepared under the auspice of the PRW in The Netherlands. This report reflects on the outcomes of the development process (Nov 2021 to March 2022) for implementing a “trilateral community (of understanding) on water management”. Download the full report

WSF Policy Paper Watermanagement 2019

Important Aspects of Surface Water Management in the trilateral Wadden Sea Region (2019)

Climate change is a fast growing threat impacting the Wadden Sea Region (WSR) with the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site and its hinterland, where people live, work and recreate. The Wadden Sea Forum has elaborated a policy paper on challenges of water management in the Wadden Sea Region due to climate change. The paper reflects the view of the different stakeholders of the WSF and is forwarded to responsible organisations and decision makers to consider WSF recommendations in their dealings.
The policy paper is available in the languages English, German, Nederlands, Danish.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management = WSF ICZM Working Group

The WSF has established a working group ICZM, which meets regularly.

ICZM is the guiding thread within the new frame of “Green Coastal Deal” of the WSF work and encompasses various themes. Therefore, the working group covers several issues of sustainable development and coastal zone management. Further, the group together with the WSF secretariat prepares workshops, conferences and symposia.

Members of the ICZM working group

Ole Beck Andersen - Esbjerg Municipality, DK
Marta Jacuniak-Suda - ARL Oldenburg, D
Andreas Kannen - Hereon, D
Ingrid Klinge - NewEnergyCoalition, NL
Petra Sewig - Nds. Min. Ernährung, Landwirtschaft, Verbraucherschutz, D
Cormac Walsh, Cormac Walsh Consult and Leuphana University, D


WSF Policy Paper Watermanagement 2019

Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Status, Challenges and Prospects by Dr. Frank Ahlhorn

The book can be ordered as paperback, ebook or pdf at (
ISBN 978-3-658-17052-3

WSF Report ICZM Strategy for the Wadden Sea Region 2014

WSF Report: ICZM Strategy for the Wadden Sea Region

Sediment and more

One of the Outstanding Universal Values of the World Heritage Wadden Sea is connected to the geomorphology. The geomorphological development of the Wadden Sea area is a crucial question and task of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation. Climate change and the change of physical boundary conditions and circumstances will pose a threat on the Wadden Sea area. To sustain the Wadden Sea and its natural environment for coming generations the geomorphological development is crucial. Human interferences in the past centuries changed the shape and natural development of the Wadden Sea. However, what does that mean for the future development with respect to the natural environment and human use of this area.

"TrilaWatt" (01/2022 - 12/2024)

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A digital hydro-morphological twin for the trilateral Wadden Sea (short: TrilaWatt) will be developed starting from January 2022 until December 2024.

According to the Open-data initiative of the German Federal Ministries, the main aim of this project proposal is to compile available datasets on sediment, geomorphology and hydrodynamic with respect to the trilateral Wadden Sea area. In this project, the WSF is cooperating with the German Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW, Lead partner) and two SMEʼs, i.e. smile Consult GmbH and planGIS GmbH, in order to compile these datasets and develop pilot cases. The project offer is to identify and take up selected cases based on stakeholder involvement on a trilateral level organised by the WSF. For example, these pilot cases could comprise investigations on topics such as accessibility of small Wadden Sea harbours, the development of the geomorphology in the Wadden Sea, which is linked to the OUVʼs, or the minimisation of disturbances of the World Heritage area potentially caused by maintenance work in fairways.

More information at WSF / Projects / 2022-2024 TrilaWatt

More information at

Siltation in small harbours (marinas) along the tidal rivers and in the Wadden Sea area

20220321 Bild Video OEins Veranstaltung Verschlickung TidehaefenDue to different reasons the accessibility of smaller harbours or marinas along the Wadden Sea and within the tidal rivers is limited. Many marinas are facing the problem that only a narrow limited window within the tide is available for the approach. At tidal rivers, not only the accessibility is limited but also the possibility of serving as training area for younger sailors is reduced. For example, current velocity of the fairway is too high to offer safe education for young sailors. In March 2022, the WSF organised a meeting with regard to develop solutions for the challenges the small harbours and marinas are facing. Several board members of sailing association from the river Weser attended this meeting.

In July 2023, the pilot project on “Future-oriented contributions of small ports to increasing climate resilience in coastal regions - the example of recreational boat harbours” started.

Read more at WSF / Projects / 2023 Siltation of small harbours

Goose Management

Another important topic, which has been dealt with longtime at the WSF is about Goose Management.

More information and current activities on goose management could be found here.