The conference which took place in Bydgoszcz on June 18 was opened by Marek Gróbarczyk, Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation. The minister announced the start of a program aimed at doubling the retention rate. Currently in Poland it remains at 6.5%. The cost of investments planned in terms of the Retention Development Program is estimated at PLN 14 billion. Activities are scheduled for 7 years.
As Marek Gróbarczyk emphasized, due to climate change and extreme phenomena, such as recent flooding and drought, it is time to take more dynamic action. Activities started today will bring results in a few years.
As part of the Retention Development Program (PRR), among others, a construction of 4 large storage reservoirs is being planned. However, activities related to the plan will not be limited to larger investments. Their goal is to combine large and small retention and drainage. The program also includes the renaturalization of rivers. These are comprehensive actions which task is to combine water management, mitigating flood risk, as well as creating inland roads. The Ministry of Marine Economy and Inland Navigation plans to increase retention to circa 30%.
To be able to build, it is initially needed to create proper plans. Both the Retention Development Program (PRR) initiated by MGMiŻŚ and the drought prevention plan implemented by Polskie Wody constitute programs that complement each other.
Przemysław Daca, the President of PGW WP, present at the Stop Drought conference, said that Polskie Wody is ready for action. The president emphasized that Polskie Wody is already carrying out investments worth several billion zlotys. The goal of water management activities is to best prepare our country for periods of flood and drought. Currently, the sums allocated for investments in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, which is one of the regions most at risk of drought, have increased three times. Whereas, the ambitious plan of the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation to increase retention encourages water management employees to work even harder.
Already today Polskie Wody works on creating a plan to counteract the effects of drought. Its goals are, among others, to indicate regions most at risk of drought, as well as create a catalog of activities and location for creating small and large retention.
Ambassador of the Stop drought! project is Łukasz Nowicki. As a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador the actor and journalist for many years 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 is committed to sharing personal experiences - not only related to his charity. As a canoeing enthusiast, Łukasz Nowicki observes with concern how much the water level in Polish rivers and lakes has decreased over the years. The ambassador of the Stop drought! project hopes that common actions undertaken by, for example, state institutions but also the society, will contribute to improving the situation and a more effective fight against drought. The protection of water resources is necessary not only for us, but also for future generations.
Photo: Przemysław Daca, President of Polskie Wody during the Stop drought! Conference, June 18 in Bydgoszcz. Author: Polskie Wody