The RIVERTEMP project (2022-1-IT02-KA220-HED-000086223) has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission and will be active from 2022 until 2025.
Temporary rivers (TRs) are defined as watercourses that may dry up for some period of time within the year (European Water Framework Directive – WFD 2000/60/CE). These watercourses are ubiquitous in the EU and all over the world, from the Alpine snow-fed creeks to occasionally water-filled streams in arid and semi-arid areas. At the global scale, recent hydrological estimates suggested that water ceases to flow along more than 50% of the world’s river network, demonstrating that non-perennial rivers are the rule rather than the exception on Earth.
In addition, TRs are becoming more and more common in this era due to the combined effect of climate change and increasing water demand. The increased future probability of rainfall deficit (seasonal or multi-year droughts) elevates the probability of flow intermittency in a large portion of the European territory, in both natural and regulated rivers.
Often exploited to fulfil the growing water demand, TRs are currently degrading at alarming rates, although they are hotspots of regional biodiversity and pivotal for the functional integrity of river networks. Flow intermittency, that characterizes TRs, can have a large range of intensity depending on the local context and a clear hydrological characterization of TRs is not available at the moment.
For all this, the project seeks the identification and categorization of the temporary rivers.