It is the first such comprehensive project of action concerning this field in our country. Over 3.5 thousand stakeholders already received the Stop Drought survey. This year, the Plan's six-month public consultations will begin. The works will be completed by the end of 2020.
The Drought Prevention Plan (PPSS), prepared by Wody Polskie, is a document of strategic importance. All subsequent, specific actions minimizing the effects of drought undertaken by both government administration bodies and local governments will apply.
Drought is one of the most severe and difficult to counteract natural phenomena affecting the environment, the economy, and local communities. Data on the extent of this phenomenon in Poland is alarming. - circa 1.6 thousand cubic meter of water per capita in Poland. The average for all of Europe is 4.5 thousand cubic meters. In the difficult fight against drought, long-term strategic actions are needed, which will contribute to minimizing its effects – as explained by Rafał Jakimiak, a specialist from the Department of Flood Protection and Drought Planning at PGW WP, head of the team developing a plan to counteract the effects of drought.
The purpose of the ongoing survey (the survey was conducted from 17/12/2018 to 15/02/2019) is to collect data useful for developing a catalog of threats and a program of actions to counteract the effects of drought. Stakeholders taking part in the survey include public administration institutions (ministries, specialized government administration units, local government administration) as well as water users from various sectors of the economy, scientific and research institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations related to water management and protection of water resources. The survey questions concern the occurrence of drought and the losses it causes. The answers will enable reporting implemented and planned measures to counteract the effects of drought to the Plan.
Nationwide Stop drought! conference – during the World Water Day
The World Water Day traditionally constitutes an opportunity to pay attention to the most important issues in the field of water management in Poland. The case was not different this year. On March 22, at the University of Warsaw Library, more than 150 experts discussed one of the growing problems - the phenomenon of drought in Poland. The topics of the national Stop drought! conference concerned the issues included in the drought prevention plan (PPSS).
Among others, a comprehensive identification of the drought phenomenon, ordered according to its type, has been made. Also, areas sensitive to drought have been presented - the first results of the survey conducted as part of PPSS. As much as 75 percent of completed surveys were sent to PGW WP. - This is the first, spectacular success of our project. Such interest is rare in case of issues as complicated as this - said Przemysław Daca, President of PGW WP, on the day of the conference. - At the same time, this demonstrates the water related environments’ correct identification of current and potential threats caused by drought. It pleases us because we have a unique chance to be wise before the damage - he added.
The discussion also included a broader context - global climate change, which Poland is also struggling with. Social knowledge concerning the fact that Poland suffers from water scarcity is very poor. Meanwhile, in terms of water resources, we are at the penultimate position in the EU, and there is approx. 1.6 thousand cubic meters of drinking water per capita, which is 3 times less than the average in Europe!
PPSS is the third project, after Water Management Plans and Flood Risk Management Plans, aimed at sustainable water management as well as establishing the principles and instruments for water resource management.
The President of the Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie is obliged to prepare a Plan by the provisions of art. 240 paragraph 2, item 8 of the Act of 20 July 2017 - Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 2268). The contract for carrying out a complex of tasks related to the development of the Drought Prevention Plan, including a division of the country into river basin districts, was signed in November 2018. Three national conferences and public consultations will constitute an additional field for presenting the Plan. The works are financed with European funds.
In the photo: Joanna Kopczyńska, deputy president for water environment management at PGW WP.