On 17 and 18 November, a nationwide conference summarising the preparation of two key documents systematising the water management in Poland was held in Warsaw. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the conference was held in the online format. It was attended by nearly 950 people, including representatives of various levels of administration, central institutions, non-governmental organisations and local communities.
The conference was a summary of the consultation process on the second update of the river basin management plans (IIuRBMP) and the first update of the flood risk management plans (uFRMP). In total, over 2,000 comments were collected, many of which had an impact on the final shape of the consulted documents. 3,500 people took part in 15 online meetings concerning the IIuRBMP, and 2,500 participants were registered for 31 meetings devoted to the uFRMP. This high level of interest just shows that the topic of flood safety and water quality and quantity is socially relevant. This is important insofar as social acceptance is essential for the implementation of the measures planned in both documents, as their cost is estimated at approx. PLN 74 billion.
The conference on 17 November was preceded by a press briefing, officially opened by Przemysław Daca, President of Wody Polskie, and Krzysztof Woś, Deputy President of Wody Polskie for Flood and Drought Protection. The journalists gathered at the PGE National Stadium in Warsaw inquired among other things about the condition of groundwater resources as reservoirs of good quality water, factors influencing the condition of water, as well as measures aimed at increasing flood safety and their costs.
Przemysław Daca, President of the National Water Management Authority, Krzysztof Woś, Deputy President.
National Conference of IIuRBMP and uFRMP
During the two-day conference, representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Wody Polski (Polish Water) talked, among other things, about the translation of general methodological assumptions and conclusions from the conducted works into proposals of measures for achieving and maintaining the good condition of waters in our country. Experts responsible for the preparation of draft IIuRBMP and uFRMP presented how the planning documents changed after taking into account the comments made during the public consultations and presented the results of the consultations on environmental impact forecasts. All materials that were discussed at the meeting are available here
From the left: Director Wojciech Skowyrski, Director Przemysław Gruszecki, PGW WP, Director Bogucka-Szymalska, MI, moderator: Krzysztof Okrasiński.
Discussion panels for IIuRBMP and uFRMP
An important element of the conference were parallel discussion panels on the Webex platform devoted to issues related to the IIuRBMP and uFRMP. Within the framework of the IIuRBMP, derogations from Article 4.4, 4.5 and 4.7 of the Water Framework Directive as well as restoration measures and improvement of migration barriers were discussed, whereas within the framework of the uFRMP, the importance of economic analyses and variants in the planning and investment process as well as technical and non-technical measures in flood risk management were discussed.
A total of 764 people participated in the panels. The expert presentations from the panels can be found here.
The conclusions of the panel discussions were discussed in the last block of the conference. The issues discussed included the entities responsible for the implementation of measures identified in IIuRBMP and their financing, long-term planning in water management, reconciling pro-environmental measures with flood prevention. Examples of pro-environmental projects were also presented (Biała Tarnowska i LIFE Pilica).
Over a thousand people attended the conference thanks to the hybrid formula
The subject of water management plans, updated for the second time, which are the basis for decision-making shaping the condition of Polish water resources, and flood risk management plans, coordinated with them and updated for the first time, which aim to improve safety and minimise flood risk, attracted the attention of many institutions and individuals. 719 people registered for the two-day conference and they actively participated in the meeting having the opportunity to comment and ask questions in the chat room. In total, nearly 1000 people followed the streaming of the conference on the project websites.
The result of addressing the comments raised during the public consultations of both documents will be a table of divergences, which after approval by the Ministry of Infrastructure will be made public. Finally, after passing the legislative and consultation path, the draft IIuRBMP and uFRMP will be adopted as legally binding documents by ordinances of the minister responsible for water management. More information about the public consultation and the conference proceedings can be found at: www.apgw.gov.pl and www.stoppowodzi.pl