Danish-Polish Environmental Co-operation 1991-2000

Chapter 15
Dancee assistance to flood protection

Assistance to water supply
Prevention and Forecasting

In the summer of 1997, an extensive flooding catastrophe caused by extremely heavy rainfalls occurred in Poland and in the Czech Republic. Buildings, roads and towns were flooded. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes or even lost them in the flood. Denmark decided to give emergency assistance to the two countries which included DKK 30 million (USD 3,44 million).

The heavy rainfalls and the following floodings in the summer of 1997 left Poland in a chaotic situation. 62,000 people were evacuated from their homes and accommodated in public buildings and emergency shelters. The number of casualties reached 50. A land area of 230,000 hectares, 245 towns and villages were flooded. 1,387 km of roads, 22 sections of railway and about 50 schools and 161 bridges were damaged by the flooding. So indeed help was needed.

In July 1997, Denmark decided to provide emergency assistance to ensure the basic water supply resource. In October, the Danish Parliament's Finance Committee approved the document on the environmental assistance to the areas affected by flooding in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Committee provided a budget frame of DKK 30 million (USD 3,44 million) which was directed towards flood control, warning systems, emergency assistance for rehabilitation of water supply installations and waste water treatment plants.

Assistance to water supply 

After the floodings in the summer of 1997 Poland was left in a disastrous condition. In an attempt to rebuild the country all the help which could be achieved was needed. Denmark decided among other things to provide emergency assistance to ensure the basic water supply resources. It took only one week from the Polish application until 10,000 people were secured their daily essential drinking water supply

Already on the 25th July 1997 a few days after the floodings the DANCEE released its first grant for rental, transport and operation of a mobile waterworks plant for the Polish city of Wroclaw. It was a result of an inquiry from the local water supply authorities.

The objective:

Originally, the plant was intended to provide clean drinking water for the hospitals in the town, but later it was decided also to ensure the supply of water to 10,000 households in a part of the town with no water supply.

The procedure:

The emergency aspect made a fast project execution essential. This required an efficient co-ordination between the involved parties and reliable equipment. Both requirements were fulfilled and contributed to the speedy initiation and execution of the project. Within less than 2 weeks the complete procedure was executed and the project was completed.

The result:

The project development demonstrates that time was usefully spent in order to commission the plant soonest possible. It took only one week from the application was made and until the supply to the consumers was established. Under the given circumstances, this must be considered the most expedient progress possible.

The plant was in operation for one week and produced totally 6,000 m3 of the daily essential drinking water supply for 10,000 inhabitants.

Prevention and Forecasting

The floodings in 1997 left marks all over Poland. A lot had to be done to get things under control and to avoid a similar disastrous situation. There was a need for new flooding management technology including for instance mapping of the floods, flooding risk analysis and flood control studies. A lot of these problems were solved through a software programme, the MIKE 11, an advanced mathematical modelling system, which can be used for the simulation of water volumes and water levels in a river system

Based on an inquiry by the Polish Ministry of Environment the DANCEE decided to grant support to the transfer of Danish technology and know-how concerning the prevention and control of flooding in Poland.

The need for the provision of new flood management technology in Poland was obvious. For operational purposes there is a demand for timely and accurate forecasts of river flows and water levels within the flood prone areas. For planning and development purposes there is a need for a flood management system, which can be used for flood control studies, flood mapping; flooding risk analysis, selection of strategy for flood protection etc.

At the same time, the DANCEE decided to support a similar project in the Czech Republic.

The objective:

The objective of the project was to transfer up to date technology and know-how on flooding and river control to the authorities of both countries. It was also to ensure the coordination of the activities aiming at the prevention of flooding in the two countries as the river Oder runs through both countries.

The procedure:

The DANCEE has entered a contract for the supply of technology and knowhow concerning floodings in the form of softwareprogrammes, consultancy as well as training.

The software programme is an advanced mathematical modelling system called MIKE11, which can be used for the simulation of water volumes and water levels in a river system.

The computer model calculates flooding prevention data based on meteorological warnings of rainfall as well as information on the present condition in the river beds.

The project comprised the following main activities:
Strengthening of the possibilities of modelling the flooding. This could be achieved through training courses in modelling of river systems, workshops as well as through on-the-job training in the local institutions.
Implementation of a new prevention and control system for flooding for the upper part of the Vistula river (Poland).
Development of a prevention and control system for flooding for the upper and middle part of the Oder river as well as the Morava river (Poland/Czech Republic).

The result:

The computer model identifies the longterm strategy for river control/monitoring as the model can be used to determine, in advance, which area should be designated as controlled flooding areas. On the long view this will prevent flooding or limit it to other areas where damage would otherwise be much more serious.

The project focused on strengthening of the Polish and Czech authorities technology and know-how concerning flooding by the use of MIKE 11. The training programmes workshops and on-the-job-training formed part of the project. The programme package, which contained an operational prevention system covering the upper part of the river system Vistula, the upper and middle part of the Oder river as well as the river Morava, was installed with the institutions of the local authorities.