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Vistula and Oder
Delta
2 million
Urban
and rural
-1.8 m to +2.5 m
Poland is a country of water,
although it does not have a
reputation as such. Almost
all major Polish cities are
located by the sea or a river
and are directly influenced
by water. Sometimes, as is
the case with the Vistula and
Oder Rivers, which run from
the mountains in the south
to the Baltic Sea and the low-
lying, flat deltas in the north,
the influence of water is too
great. The one-dimensional
river system set up in the
past is highly susceptible to
flooding.
In the last century,
various Polish rivers were
canalised and subsequently
poorly maintained. Water
management was considered
an architectural problem,
with concrete as the solution.
Little attention was paid to the
natural behaviour of rivers,
resulting today in flooding
problems causing annual flood
damages of up to EUR 3 billion
in 2010 alone. In addition, cities
such as Warsaw and Cracow
are unable to exploit the social,
economic and ecological
potential of their rivers to
the full.
Awareness that things can
and must change is gaining
ground in Poland, which is
also being affected by climate
change. Economically, the
Central European country is
doing well. Poland is reaping
the fruits of EU membership,
also in terms of knowledge
exchange. There are valuable
lessons to be learned from the
Netherlands and the Dutch
Delta Programme in terms of
its holistic, integrated approach
to spatial planning and water
management.
In the coming years, aided
by Dutch knowledge and
innovation and European
funding, efforts will focus
on ensuring water safety in
the form of infrastructure,
retention and limiting building
in areas susceptible to flooding.
This alternative approach will
make room for nature while
creating opportunities for
tourism, recreation and nature
development, both in flood
plains and on city shores.
POLAND
WATER KNOWLEDGE HAS
ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Integrated approach
cooperatIon wIth other
government levels and
stakeholders
fInance and ImplementatIon
19

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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