The completion of works on the first national drought effects counteracting plan (DECP) prepared by the National Water Management Authority is approaching. After six months of public consultation, more than 800 proposals and comments have been submitted to this document. More than 300 of these are proposals for the construction or reconstruction of retention tanks, submitted to DECP Annex 1. The DECP project has entered the next stage, with an environmental impact assessment.
Until 24 June of this year, it is subject to public consultation as part of the strategic environmental impact assessment. At the end of the year, the plan will be adopted as a regulation of the Minister of Water Management.
The participants of the consultation were interested in issues related to general education (including education directed at farmers), rainwater and snowmelt management, irrigation for agricultural purposes, land reclamation, natural and artificial retention and drought monitoring. The comments and proposals to the DECP project also address the issue of legislative and water use changes as well as financial issues related to drought effect counteracting. Proposals and comments could be submitted through an on-line form, by e-mail, letter or in person at the headquarters of the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation or during consultation meetings of Stop Drought! The largest number of completed questionnaires – 683 – was received on-line and by e-mail.
The DECP project includes the planning of projects aimed at counteracting the effects of drought in the years 2021-2027. It establishes competences in the implementation of its provisions, including actions for effective drought management on a national, regional and local scale. The project, consisting of activities arranged in a catalogue, focuses on increasing the volume and availability of water resources, including the creation of natural and artificial retention and education on the problems of drought and prevention measures. The catalogue also describes the scope of the administrative changes for the optimisation of drought monitoring, emergency management in case of drought and increasing resistance to the impact of drought on water resources in the soil (including groundwater resources), rivers, lakes and other reservoirs.
The DECP project is the first such comprehensive project on counteracting the effects of drought in Poland. It is the most important effect of the Stop Drought project! Together with plans for water management and flood risk management, the DECP project will contribute to the improvement of water management in Poland. After the adoption of this document, Poland will be at the forefront of European countries that have developed plans to counteract the effects of drought. Similar projects have already been implemented by such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Slovakia and Ukraine.
The President of the National Water Management Authority is obliged to prepare the drought effect counteracting plan under the provisions of Art. 240(2) (8) of the Act of 20 July 2017 – Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 310). So far, as part of the Stop Drought! project, a DECP preparation methodology was created, and a survey of 3,500 entities related to water management was conducted. In addition, the draft plan of the project was presented at national expert conferences, as part of the ‘Remember about water!’ social campaign and at 15 national consultation meetings. All works are financed via European funds (OPI&E 2014-2020).