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Arcadis is the leader of a consortium which, commissioned by Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie (Polish water management authority), is implementing a project related to reviewing and updating Flood Risk Management Plans for the areas of river basins in Poland. Arcadis is once again involved in the development of plans – in the first planning cycle, we were responsible for the plans for the basin areas of the Vistula and Pregoła Rivers, which are now being updated. New flood risk management plans for the basin areas of the Danube, Elbe and Neman Rivers are also currently under development within the project.
The basic aim of drawing up and updating plans is to reduce the possible consequences of flooding in numerous key contexts: public life and health, economic activity, the environment and cultural heritage. The initiative is carried out as part of the implementation of the Floods Directive.
The project is unique in scale and requires the involvement of a total of 129 experts from various industries (e.g. water management, hydrology, hydraulic engineering, environmental protection, economics). Taking into account the project scale, the key challenge was the time frame for drawing up the flood risk management plans. Draft plans for the second planning cycle were developed between March and December 2020. The actions included in the plans underwent a S.M.A.R.T. analysis, and we then examined their effectiveness, environmental impact and economic efficiency (estimating potential investment outlays and comparing them to the costs of eliminating possible flood losses).
Various action options for the identified problem areas are being prepared within the new plans and updates of the existing plans, together with a recommendation on the optimal options. The suggested actions are of a technical (e.g. construction of flood banks, retention tanks) and non-technical (e.g. education, information campaigns, forecasting systems) nature. A six-year action schedule is being developed as part of the plans, and is accompanied by social consultations as well as information and promotion campaigns in the areas covered by the study. The role of Arcadis was also to assess the compliance of the adopted solutions with legal and environmental requirements, including the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive and the Birds and Habitats Directive.
The aim of the project is to reduce the risk of flooding and the consequences of possible flooding in the regions covered by the study, which has a key impact on safety in the broadest sense. The plans are used as a basis for implementing a long-term flood prevention strategy at many levels of flood risk management. They are prepared taking into account all of the stages of flooding – from prevention to protection and a state of due preparation, including forecasting and the implementation of early warning systems.
The application of the recommended actions has a key impact both on the health and life of people living in the problem regions and on the conditions for carrying out business activity in these areas. They also help protect the cultural heritage of the regions concerned. The individual environmental impact of each recommendation is analyzed in detail and, if necessary, individual compensation measures are recommended.