The conference in Bydgoszcz was opened by Marek Gróbarczyk – Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation. The Minister announced the start of the programme aiming to increase retention twice. Currently, it is maintained in Poland at the level of 6.5%. The cost of investments planned under the Retention Development Programme is estimated at level of 14 billion PLN. Measures are planned for 7 years.

As Marek Gróbarczyk emphasized, due to climatic changes and extreme phenomena such as recently occurring floods and droughts, it is time to take more dynamic actions. Activities that have begun today will give results in a few years.

As a part of the Retention Development Program (RDP) the construction of inter alia 4 large retention reservoirs is planned. However, activities related to the plan will not be limited only to larger scale investments. Their goal is also to combine large and small retention and drainage. The program also provides for renaturalization of rivers. These are comprehensive measures undertaken in order to combine water management, eliminate flood risk and create water inland roads. MGMiŻŚ plans to increase retention up to 30%.

In order to be able to build, it is first necessary to create appropriate plans. Both the Retention Development Program (RDP) initiated by MGMiŻŚ and the Plan to counteract the effects of drought implemented by the Polish Waters are programmes that complement each other.

Mr Przemysław Daca – President of the Polish Waters, present at the conference, said that Polish Waters are ready for action. The president stressed that the Polish Waters is already carrying out investments worth several billion PLN. The aim of the water management activities is to prepare our country for the periods of both flood and drought. Currently, the amounts allocated for investments in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship, which belongs to the regions most threatened by the occurrence of drought, have increased threefold. Furthermore, the challenging plan of the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, aimed at increasing retention, encourages water management experts to work even harder.

Even today, Polish Waters are working on creating the Plan to counteract the effects of drought. Its goals include indication of the regions most threatened by the occurrence of drought phenomenon, as well as the creation of a catalogue of measures and an indication of the location to build small and large retention.

The ambassador of the Stop the drought! project is Łukasz Nowicki. The actor and journalist as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador is involved in the fight against social inequalities, hunger and lack of access to fresh drinking water in the poorest regions of the world. The actor shares his personal experiences with commitment – not only connected with his charitable activity. As a canoeing enthusiast, Łukasz Nowicki observes with concern how much, over the years, the level of water in Polish rivers and lakes has decreased. Ambassador of the Stop the drought! project hopes that joint activities and efforts by state institutions, but also by societies, will contribute to the improvement of the situation and more effective fight against the drought. Protection of water resources is necessary not only for us, but also for future generations.

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