Floods in Passau

The city of Passau has experienced regular floods throughout history. Even Pope Pius II’s description of Passau (1457) mentions the Inn and Danube rivers just about joining where the pedestrian area is now. Many different preventative measures have been taken to eliminate the risk of flooding, however, to no avail. Floods will most likely always remain a feature of Passau.

There are three reason why Passau is particully subject to regular and heavy flooding:

The citizens of Passau are used to regular floods and have taken different precautions: everyone has sandbags and covers ready in case they are needed, and rooms on ground level are arranged so that they can be emptied quickly. Different dams and a highly developed forecasting system have helped to reduce damages caused by the floods. The "flood of the century" in 2002, when the Danube reached a level of 10.81m, "only" caused a damage of 250.000 Euro – which is a lot less than in earlier times.

      The year 1954 set a sad record, when the Danube reached its highest level ever recorded of 12.2m, the Inn 10.10m and the Ilz 12.15m – which caused a damage of 3 million euros. Luckily there have been no casualties in Passau due to floods in recent history.

Passau will always have to expect with regular floods – changes in climate add to the problem – nevertheless, they should not be dramatised.

Water level marks: on the city hall (1501 - 2002) and on the corner of Roßtränke/Nagelschmiedgasse (1954).

edited and translated by: Sebastian Lindemann
(17.8.2004/12.1.2005)

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