THE CATALOGUE OF KEY MEASURES FOR COUNTERACTING THE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT IS UNDERWA

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The necessary measures to minimize the effects of water scarcity and drought in our country were the focus of Stop the drought! conference in Bydgoszcz held on Tuesday. The Polish Waters is developing the first plan in Poland to counteract the effects of drought.

Poland has one of the smallest water resources in the European Union. This unfavorable condition is aggravated by droughts that appear more and more often in our country. Stop the drought! project led by Wody Polskie! is just entering a new phase – creating a catalogue of key measures. Storing water and not allowing it to flow too quickly into the Baltic Sea is just a part of what is necessary in dealing with drought. This constantly developed list of measures has already over 30 activities. During the conference in Bydgoszcz, over 170 experts dealing with water management focused on the list.

– The place of our meeting was not chosen accidentally. Bydgoszcz is the capital of the region, which belongs to the water poorest in our country. Investments in water infrastructure, which we plan in Kujawsko-Pomorskie will certainly contribute to the improvement of this state. This will be accompanied by other activities of a very diverse nature. We are aware that decisive actions are necessary – said Przemysław Daca, President of Polish Waters.

The planned or implemented investments in Kujawsko-Pomorskie include, among others, the reconstruction of the facilities of the Bydgoszcz Water Junction, the construction of retention reservoirs on the Bętlewianka River or the improvement of the retention capacity of the Main Canal of the Chełmińska Lowland.

The catalogue of measures, the subject of the conference in Bydgoszcz, is the result of inter alia questionnaire conducted among over 3.5 thousand stakeholders. – After analysing its results and having reviewed many strategic documents, programs and plans, we have compiled a list of over 30 activities that can be divided into technical activities and non-technical activities. It can be then grouped into four blocks: educational, formal-legal, guidelines and good practices, management, restrictions and monitoring and development of water resources – explains Rafał Jakimiak, a Specialist from the Department for Flood and Drought Protection Planning  – project manager of Stop the drought! project.

These activities include the construction of small and large water reservoirs increasing urban retention, natural retention in forest areas, developing a set of good practices for farmers to rationalize water use. – It’s very ambitious, but the problem requires it. In the fight against drought it is necessary to take actions by state institutions, local governments and water users as well as non-governmental organizations. The involvement of society is also necessary. That is why, in mid-August, we are starting a six months public consultation process for the plan to counteract the effects of drought. As a result of the consultation the list of what needs to be done will be completed. We invite all those interested in this subject to 15 cities in Poland – adds Rafał Jakimiak. Detailed information on the consultation process is available at www.stopsuszy.pl.

The role of the plan to counteract the effects of drought is to indicate activities that will limit the negative impact of this phenomenon on society, the environment and the economy. For the preparation of the plan, Polish Waters are obliged by the provisions of the Act of 20th July 2017 – Water Law. The field for the presentation of the draft plan are nationwide conferences and public consultations that will start on 15th August 2019 and will last until 15th February 2020. Works on the plan are financed from the European funds (POIŚ 2014-2020) and will be finalized by the end of 2020. The plan will be adopted via the ordinance of the minister responsible for the water management.