WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015—The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a Euro 460 million (US$504 million equivalent) Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project for Poland to increase access to flood protection for people living in selected areas of the Odra and the Upper Vistula River basins, and to strengthen Poland’s institutional capacity to mitigate the impact of floods more effectively.
“The devastating flood episodes of 1997, 2006, and 2010 highlighted that the large manufacturing, commercial, and tourist centers of Poland that provide jobs and contribute most to the national economy are particularly vulnerable to floods. This vulnerability is forecast to further increase,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Country Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries. “Improved flood protection of the 15 million people living in the affected areas will help reduce vulnerabilities and promote shared prosperity among all project beneficiaries,” she added. “We are pleased to support the Government of Poland in its efforts to protect its population as well as to mitigate the impact of floods on industrial and agricultural output and the investment climate, and thus, strengthen the sustainability of the country’s economic and social development.”
The project comes in response to the Government of Poland’s request to further complete the protection of the most vulnerable areas in the Odra basin, and implement a first set of measures to start providing the same level of protection for the Upper Vistula basin. In addition, the new project aims to create the platform to start mainstreaming, at the national level, the lessons learnt in policy and institutional development during the Odra River Basin Flood Protection Project. While the Odra region has been benefiting from numerous studies on the river basin system that took place over more than a century, the Vistula region, which features a larger and more complex hydraulic system, has not been studied as thoroughly.
“The challenge is to help the country be better prepared for the future. The project will incorporate lessons from the previous flood protection project to ensure that the protection of the selected areas of the Odra River and the Upper Vistula River basins is targeted, effective, and more resilient to future floods,” said Winston Yu, Senior Water Resources Specialist and the Task Team Leader for the Project.
The project will provide three distinct areas with flood management infrastructure and related measures: the Middle and Lower Odra, the Nysa Kłodzka Valley, and selected parts of the Upper Vistula, including the areas of Kraków, Sandomierz and communities in the Raba and the San tributary catchments. In addition, the project will strengthen the national institutional capacity for flood management and forecasting, and the operational capabilities to operate existing and new infrastructure through the use of more advanced weather forecasting equipment and flood simulation models. The project will also help strengthen the capacity to prepare the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) and investment prioritization plans that are in-line with European Union standards, improve the flood policy framework, and enhance the capability for more reliable forecasting, early warning and infrastructure operation of existing and new infrastructure.
The Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project is aligned with the Government of Poland’s priorities for the sector as well as with the World Bank Group’s program in Poland aimed at promoting shared prosperity—economic competitiveness—equity and inclusion, and climate action to enhance the sustainability of Poland’s economic and social development, and is consistent with the Bank’s 2013-2016 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Poland.