3.5 thousand active participants and over 2 thousand of submitted applications and comments constitute the final summary of the public consultations organized by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the National Water Management Holding Polish Waters during the second update of the river basin management plans (IIaPGW) and the first update of the flood risk management plans (aPZRP). The cost of implementing the activities planned in both documents will amount to approx. PLN 74 billion.
The nationwide conference, which takes place on November 17-18 in Warsaw, is a summary of the consultation process of two key documents systematising water management in Poland. Despite pandemic restrictions (consultations were conducted online), the organizers managed to collect over 2 thousand opinions of representatives of administration at various levels, central institutions, social organizations, including NGOs, and local communities.
- Both the issues of improving the quality of waters, their utilisation and the availability of drinking water resources, as well as protection against flood risks have a common denominator. It is the safety of all of us, both "here and now" and in the future. The large participation of stakeholders in discussions that took place throughout the country proves the growing social awareness in this regard. This is a good forecast for ground water management in Poland, which requires both enormous financial outlays and social acceptance of the planned activities, said before the conference Marek Gróbarczyk, secretary of state at the Ministry of Infrastructure, responsible for matters related to water management and implementation of investments in the maritime and water sector.
Security is the main goal of flood-prevention activities
Over 2.5 thousand stakeholders participated in 31 consultation meetings of the project of updating flood risk management plans throughout the country. In total, 800 applications and comments were submitted. The vast majority concerned the tasks planned in the area of the Vistula basin. The final list of the aPZRP project included over 1.1 thousand activities aimed at increasing the safety of inhabitants of endangered areas. Their implementation will cost approx. PLN 48 billion. The vast majority of measures (855) concern increasing flood safety on the Vistula, 254 of them are planned for the Odra. - This clear disproportion is due to the fact that in flood risk management, the Oder is ahead of the Vistula by many years and dozens of projects implemented there. Now is the time to intensify flood-prevention activities on the queen of Polish rivers - said Przemysław Daca, President of the National Water Management Holding Polish Waters. He added that the greatest interest, both on the part of residents and local government units was around the consultations of the Flood Risk Management Plan for the Vistula river basin in the area of the Prądnik and Vistula Sandomierska catchment areas. The reason was the flood risk in these hydrologically difficult areas and the scale of activities planned there, which required broad social acceptance. - The model for the activity of Polish Waters in these areas is the successfully implemented flood protection of Krakow. Many activities have already been implemented or are in progress. As part of aPZRP, the implementation of a package of reservoirs and polders in the area of the Small and Upper Vistula was planned, the purpose of which was to reduce the risk of flooding throughout this section of the Vistula and in Krakow itself. Similarly, we will carry out protection in the next section, from Kraków to Sandomierz, announced President Daca.
We need better water quality, purity and availability
Over 3.5 thousand people were present during 15 online, whereas a thousand of whom took an active part in them. The problems related to surface waters, which were addressed during the debates, included issues related to the pressures on hydromorphological elements, therefore, great emphasis in the development of the IIaPGW was placed on activities aimed at improving hydromorphological conditions and ensuring the permeability of rivers for the migration of bi-environmental fish species, including areas designated for for the protection of economic aquatic animal species. Significant factors influencing the condition of water are air pollutants and pollutants from industrial wastewater discharges. Local water status is also affected by municipal wastewater discharges with exceeded physicochemical standards, therefore activities related to the organization of water and sewage management at the local level are very important to achieve the environmental goals set for waters, which are still the target recipient of such pollutants. In agricultural areas, the limit values of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus compounds) have been exceeded, resulting in the nutritional status of water, therefore all activities that will directly or indirectly contribute to limiting the inflow of nutrients to water will help in achieving good water condition. In turn, the condition of groundwater is influenced by the pressures identified in surface waters, increased by the effect of drainage of mines and mining waste dumps. The protection of groundwater resources, which are reservoirs of good water quality, is one of the priority areas for which the IIaPGW provides for remedial measures. In total, in IIaPGW projects in the river basin areas, over 24 thousand corrective actions for over 3.6 thousand water bodies: river, lake, reservoir, transitional, coastal and underground. The total cost of implementing the activities planned in IIaPGW is nearly PLN 26 billion.
Consultation meetings all over Poland
Social consultations of IIaPGW and aPZRP were announced by the Minister of Infrastructure and were coordinated by National Water Management Holding Polish Waters. IIaPGW consultations in the river basin districts started on April 14, 2021 and lasted until October 14, 2021. Due to the pandemic restrictions, meetings in 15 cities across the country were held online. Their goal is to transfer the general methodological assumptions and conclusions from the works carried out into, among others: suggestions concerning actions aimed at achieving and maintaining good water condition in our country. On the other hand, from December 22, 2020 to September 22, 2021, i.e. as long as 9 months, public consultations of the aPZRP lasted. The main part of the plans discussed during the debates was the list of measures for individual river basin districts. Both analytical works and public consultations were jointly coordinated between documents, which is in line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive. The synergy of these planning documents, along with the Drought Effects Counteracting Plan, is a key element of effective water management in the country. Projects IIaPGW and aPZRP, supplemented with conclusions and comments submitted during the consultations, will be adopted by means of ordinances of the minister responsible for water management.
More information about IIaPGW and aPZRP projects as well as social consultations of these documents is available at: www.apgw.gov.pl and www.stoppowodzi.pl.