Residents of the Village of Nieboczowy in Poland say it is difficult to forget the hardships of 1997 – the year flood waters tore through the region, killing over 50 people, and destroying 700,000 homes.
“We have always had floods, and we had gotten used to them, but 1997 was totally beyond what we expected. Our residents were eventually able to recover, but the fears remained on our minds,” says Nieboczowy Village Head, Krystian Szczotok.
Such fears of flooding are finally being put to rest, says Szczotok, thanks to a government-run project now underway in the flood-prone areas of Poland’s Odra River Basin, in the country’s southwest.
Under the Odra River Flood Protection Project, flood-prevention structures are being built in the basin area.
They include a “dry polder” – a reservoir made to trap dangerous overflow from surrounding rivers, which peak during heavy rains.
“When there is a risk of flood coming up, this dry reservoir will be filled with water. It has a double purpose; it will reduce the peak flow of the Odra River, and will prevent it from merging with that of the Nysa Klodzka River,” explains Augustyn Bombala, who is overseeing project construction.