Stop the drought! Let’s be wise before a loss!

The Plan to prevent the effects of drought (PPSS) was the subject of the conference Stop the drought! held on 22nd March in Warsaw and organised by Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie (PGW WP). The plans is the first such a comprehensive study devoted to the phenomenon of drought in Poland. There were more than 150 experts taking part in the event

Following Water Management Plans and Flood Risk Management plans, PPSS is the third project for sustainable water management establishing principles and instruments for the water resources management. The scale of the project is really significant and should be emphasized by the fact that survey questions were sent to 3,5 thousand stakeholders related to water management, both at the central and local level. As much as 75 percent of the completed questionnaires were delivered to PGW WP.

—This is the first spectacular success of our project. With such a complex subject, it is rare to find such a great deal of interest — said on the day of the conference Przemysław Daca, President of PGW WP.  —It also shows that the community related to water management shows a growing awareness and properly addresses the current and future threats caused by drought. That’s delightful, because we have an unique chance to be wise before a loss — he added.

It is no coincidence that the conference was organised on the World Water Day established by the United Nations. Each year, it takes place under a different slogan. This year it is: ,,Leaving no one behind”. More than one billion people in the world suffers from a lack of access to clean drinking water. Environmental degradation and climate change are two the most important factors affecting problems with access to water. Although it seems that ,,lagging behind” is not a Polish problem, the matter is not an easy one. Public awareness of the fact that Poland suffers from water scarcity is very low. Meanwhile, in terms of water resources we occupy the penultimate  place in the EU, and per one Polish citizen there is about 1.6 thousand cubic metres of drinking water annually, which is 3 times less than the average in Europe !

— Drough is a natural phenomenon of the climate and cannot be completely combated. Even richer countries than Poland are not able to deal with it. However, we can try to counteract its effects (minimize them) and hence the reason why we are preparing the plan to counteract the effects of drought. The plan is designed to identify where and to what extent we are exposed to specific types of drought and what we should do to mitigate their effects in specific cases. — explains Rafał Jakimiak, a specialist in the Department of Flood Protection Planning and Drought at PGW WP, head of the team developing the PPSS.

Possible measures include: technical activities such as the construction of small and big retention reservoirs, modernization of the existing water and melioration networks, development of guidelines for rational use of water and rules for control of water retention devices, as well as conducting educational activities promoting water saving. Preparation of the catalogue of measures will be the final stage of work on the plan.

The Ambassador of Stop the Drought project is an actor Łukasz Nowicki – Ambassador the Goodwill of UNICEF. His many journeys to Africa have strengthen his belief that there is an urgent need to undertake an effort to ensure water availability for all.

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