Gliwice is the next meeting place, after Kraków and Nowy Sącz, for the public consultation on the draft updated flood risk management plans (uFRMP). On 16 February in Gliwice, the draft flood-protection activity plans for the water regions of the Upper Oder and Small Vistula were consulted. Close to 60 activities to be implemented in the voivodeship of Silesia and Opole now are aimed primarily at the expansion, repairs and modernisations of the existing infrastructure. One day later the debate will be continued in Pszczyna.
In the context of uFRMP it is important that Upper Silesia belongs to three water regions, including the Small Vistula (RW MW with the area of 3,942 km2) in the Vistula basin, the Upper Oder (RW GO with the area of 3,830 km2) in the Oder basin and the Czadeczka (24.6 km2) in the Danube basin. The latter, according to the existing studies, does not require any major activity related to the flood risk management. The water regions of the Upper Oder and Small Vistula are inhabited by close to 10% of the residents of Poland, but the flood-protection activities affect a larger area, meaning they refer to the residents of other regions of Poland. The high activity scale make Wody Polskie one of the largest infrastructure investors in Poland at present. Just in 2020, the value of tasks implemented by PGW WP reached more than PLN 20 billion.
Modernisation and repairs of the existing facilities
The activities carried out in the water regions of the Upper Oder and Small Vistula have considered the specific characteristics of the area. The projects with the reach exceeding the local scale were planned consistently. An example of such an initiative, long-awaited by the residents of the three voivodeship districts on the Oder, is Racibórz Dolny reservoir, one of the largest hydro-engineering structures of that type in Europe. The polder was erected to prevent disasters, such as the disastrous millenial flood in 1997. What was considered to be the most important activities concerning flood-risk reduction in the drafts of the updated PZRPs which are consulted now was the modernisation and vertical enlargement of flood embankments. In the water region of the Small Vistula, the planned investments minimising the flood risk include the reconstruction and alteration of flood-protection embankments of the Mleczna river in Bieruń Stary (from the railway bridge at Chemików Street to the bridge at Turyńska Street) for close to PLN 30 million and the modernisation and vertical enlargement of the left-bank embankment of the Vistula in Bieruń-Czarnuchowice, from the mouth of the Przemsza river to the bridge at Warszawska Street, including the drainage of land along the river embankment, in total for close to PLN 20 million. The reconstruction and vertical enlargement of the left-bank embankment of the Vistula and the left embankment of the Pszczynka, from the Gostynka mouth to the rail embankment in Jedlina, will cost close to PLN 15 million. In Opole, i.e. in the water region of the Upper Oder, Żelazna polder is to be constructed (the cost of PLN 158 million), and in Kędzierzyn-Koźle (at the municipal wastewater treatment plant in Kędzierzyn-Koźle) the flood embankment on the Oder is to be reconstructed and modernised (the cost of PLN 15 million). The number of projects planned for implementation by 2027 means actual counteracting flood effects in the area where they are completed.
Racibórz Dolny — the project of 21st century
The above-mentioned reservoir in Racibórz is a project of key importance for the flood protection not only in the Upper, but also in the Middle Oder. Though initially controversial, the immense polder (with the cost of PLN 2 billion) protects close to 2.5 million of residents of three voivodeship districts on the Oder, including Silesia, Opole and Lower Silesia from flood directly and indirectly. The reservoir volume is close to 185 million m3, the area of the inundated polder is close to 26 km2, and the length of dams around the reservoir is ca. 22 km. It was handed over for use in mid-2020. Soon, already in October, it turned out that the project was highly important.
“Racibórz Dolny reservoir, operated during the water level rise in October, captured the flood wave on the Oder, protecting the areas situated lower, starting from Racibórz, through Opole, to Wrocław, from flood. By the way, it turned out that nature writes its own scenarios which, combined with the dynamic climate changes, proved it was reasonable to adjust the assumptions concerning the flow rate when the reservoir, which is normally kept dry, is operated. Both this project and the smaller tasks important for local communities, provided for in the plans consulted now, have been planned to limit the flood risk transfer in a comprehensive way”, Mirosław Kurz, Director of Regionalny Zarząd Gospodarki Wodnej in Gliwice, explained.
Together, let’s say Stop Flooding
The public consultations of the drafts of updated FRMP, announced by the Minister of Infrastructure and coordinated by Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie, have been taking place since 22 December 2020. The project has an unprecedented scale as the meetings will be held in 28 towns and cities during the Polish debate attended by experts and stakeholders, lasting six months, in the most important water regions in Poland.
Subsequent debates will be held on 9 and 11 March in Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poznań and Kalisz. Consultation meetings will conclude on 26 and 27 May in Elbląg and Słupsk. Registration begins approximately 3 weeks before a specific meeting at www.stoppowodzi.pl Due to the epidemic situation, consultations in February and March are held on-line. If the restrictions are removed, the meetings will resume in their traditional form. We inform about all changes in the news on the project website.
More information on the public consultations and the full lists of, inter alia, problem areas and structured lists of planned measures with details can be found at www.stoppowodzi.pl under “uFRMP projects for river basin districts.”