Fourteen of this year’s public consultation meetings of the drought effects counteracting plan (DECP) gathered over a thousand representatives of institutions and organisations dealing with water management, agriculture and forestry. Over 100 comments and insights to the consulted document were submitted. Of greatest interest is the construction and reconstruction of retention tanks. We are waiting for your comments – the six-monthly public consultation ends on 15 February 2020.
So far, comments and insights to the DECP project have been submitted by residents from a variety of regions in Poland, where the consultations were conducted. The division into individual stakeholder groups is as follows: natural persons (56%), communes and districts (19%), associations (8%) and representatives of state forests (7%). Other entities that have submitted comments include: entrepreneurs, universities (each less than 5%). The consultations are still ongoing and therefore a comprehensive assessment of the submitted comments is premature. Although the debate phase is almost completed, we are still waiting for proposals submitted on a special form available on our websites devoted to the Stop Drought! project. According to Rafał Jakimiak, Senior Specialist from the Department of Flood Protection and Drought Planning at PGW Wody Polskie and coordinator of the team developing the drought effects counteracting plan, the final conclusions will be formulated after the debate, which will take place in Warsaw on 4 February 2020. These will be formulated after the collection and analysis of all the comments.
The consulted DECP project includes planning of projects aimed at counteracting the effects of any droughts between 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 DECP project, consisting of 25 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 problem of drought and prevention measures. The catalogue also describes the scope of 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.
This year, consultation meetings of the DECP project were held in Poznań, Zielona Góra, Wrocław, Gliwice, Lublin, Rzeszów, Kraków, Szczecin, Koszalin, Gdańsk, Bydgoszcz, Olsztyn, Białystok and Łódź. The last meeting is planned for 4 February 2020 in Warsaw (detailed information about the consultation meetings is available at www.stopsuszy.pl).
The DECP is the first comprehensive project based on counteracting the effects of drought in Poland. Information about the DECP project is available at: www.stopsuszy.pl and www.konsultacjesusza.pl You can also submit comments and insights to the DECP project through a special form.
The DECP document, which represents the most important result of the Stop Drought! project, together with water management plans and flood risk management plans, will contribute to the improvement of water management in Poland. Following the public consultations, the DECP project will undergo a strategic environmental impact assessment. The final step in 2020 will be to formally adopt the project via a regulation prepared by the minister responsible for water management. At that point, Poland will join the group of 10 European countries that have developed drought countermeasure plans. 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 effects counteracting plan by the provisions of the Art. 240(2) (8) of the Act of 20 July 2017 – Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 2268). 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 various consultation meetings. All works are financed by European funds (OPI&E 2014-2020).