Harald Köthe, born on 16.05.1961 in Karlsruhe, completed his studies in geology at the University of Bonn in 1988 with a diploma thesis on Southern Morocco. His subsequent professional career first took him to the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), where he primarily dealt with hydrogeological tasks, the development of foundations and expert opinions on the environmental compatibility of hydraulic engineering structures as well as sediment and dredged material management in federal waterways in various organisational units. In 2004, Mr. Köthe joined the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), where he acted as deputy head of division in various fields, primarily hydrology, climate adaptation and environmental protection with supervising responsibilities for the BfG and the Federal Waterway and Shipping Administration (WSV).
Owing to his strong links with the water issue and international experience in the applied science of water, he was appointed Director of the ICWRGC in 2018.
For almost 30 years and in a leading position, Harald Köthe has thus acted as an interface between practitioners, scientists and decision-makers in the field of water-related and environmental issues at the international level.
His versatile professional experience and skills include, among many others:
- For more than 25 years, participation in national, European and international bodies and associations, with management experience, i.a. within PIANC, the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure
- German representative in the environmental committee of CEDA (Central Dredging Association)
- More than 12 years‘ work in the technical supervision of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration with the key tasks hydrology, climate adaptation, dredged materials and sediment management, soil, waste, groundwater
- Initiation and steering of the KLIWAS research programme (2009-2013), federal flagship project for the development of projections on future climate-induced conditions of the large German water-bodies; establishment of an innovative departmental research network including BfG, Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Meteorological Service), Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute as well as numerous associated scientific institutions
- Member of the interministerial task force on the German strategy „Adaptation to climate change“ (DAS)
- Initiation and participation in the establishment of the BMVI expert network
- Supporting the development and implementation of European environmental directives (water, waste, soil) in terms of the federal waterways
- Several years of managing the task area „Responding to accidental marine pollution (oil and other hazardous substances)“ (i.a. technical supervision of Department 2 of the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies; Head of the German delegation in the Management Committee for Maritime Pollution of the EU Commission; Steering German interests within EMSA – European Maritime Safety Agency of the EU Commission, participation in EU Council working groups)
- Experience in cooperation with River Basin Commissions (such as IKSR), navigation commissions (such as ZKR) and federal states’ working groups (LAWA, LAGA, LABO)
- Initiation and several years of heading the DGE (Dutch-German Exchange on Dredged Material); drafting of 5 baseline reports.