30 Oct 2014

Increasing the safety and efficiency of inland navigation on the Danube River

We developed a forecasting system using a two-dimensional (2D) real-time unsteady flow model to provide information on current water levels in the Danube River.

The Transport Research Institute in Zilina, Slovakia selected us to set up and operate a pilot system that automatically updates navigational charts. It determines water depth information based on how much water is currently flowing in the river. 

The area – a 41 km long stretch of the Danube River along the border of Slovakia and Hungary between Sap and Komarno – has complicated navigational conditions, including shallow sections, side arms and groin systems. 

We used our MIKE 21 FM modelling software to set up a detailed two-dimensional (2D) hydrodynamic model. The 2D hydrodynamic model uses information about the current water levels from gauging stations between the cities of Medvedov (upstream limit) and Komarno (downstream limit). 

It utilises information about the river’s topography and the hydraulic resistance of the surface to calculate current water level, speed and flow direction. The MIKE CUSTOMISED-based system then:
  • prepares the boundary conditions for the hydrodynamic model
  • performs a 2D model simulation
  • generates a water level correction file from the model results
  • automatically uploads the file to the water level server of Via Donau (which maintains and develops the Danube waterway) in Vienna, Austria
Upon request from skippers, the information on the corrected water level is then sent to vessels. Inland ECDIS Viewers then display electronic navigational charts (ENC) with information on water depth, updated for current hydrological conditions on the river. 

Knowledge of reliable and current information on available navigational depth enables vessels to sail more safely and manage cargo loads accordingly. This leads to more efficient transportation and fuel consumption.