WWF launches an anti-flood campaign in Poland



Posted on 20 February 2002  | 
Warsaw, Poland - The floods, which plagued Poland in 1997 and 2001, have transformed people's lives. Now, each melting of snow, each rain fall, is a real danger and brings a vision of more tragedy.

The current strategy of flood control, unchanged for a hundred years, which has concentrated mainly on the construction and maintenance of dykes, more often than not unnecessarily narrowing riverbeds, doesn't work. It creates a false sense of security, leads to investment in floodplains and consequently magnifies the losses due to flooding.

WWF believes that the risk of flooding can only be reduced by an integrated flood control system. WWF's programme of flood control primarily targets the widening of major riverbeds through the relocation of dykes at certain spots, as well as the setting up of floodwater containment reservoirs on land which is heavily developed.

WWF is appealing to those responsible for flood control in Poland to demarcate floodplains, analyse the risks of flooding, and to create a map of flood hazards that would facilitate the limitation of construction on flooding terrain. The control of investment on terrain threatened with flooding is possible, for example by an effective insurance system, as well as through legislative solutions for spatial development.

"In the case of the Odra natural floodplains account for barely 27% of the natural floodplain area. In comparison to natural conditions the river does not have enough room to move large volumes of water. For this reason it is necessary to halt development in the most threatened regions and, where possible, to return the river to its natural floodplain," said Mr. Piotr Nieznański, Project leader for WWF's Odra project.

"We are counting on WWF's Anti-flooding campaign to increase Poles' awareness of the necessity of comprehensive action whose aim is the protection of human life and the lessening of material losses. This program should pertain to entire drainage areas, not just their small fragments," added Mr. Jacek Engel, Project leader of WWF's Vistula project.

What can you do to help stop flooding in your area of Poland?

  • Actively protest the construction of new investment within reach of potential flooding. These include: industrial plants, residential housing, waste disposal sites, cemeteries etc. (for example by signing petitions for changes in spatial development plans);
  • Inform government functionaries responsible for flood control and spatial development (at the municipal and county level) of development plans on floodplain areas;
  • Participate in environmental organisations, whose goal is to conserve or rehabilitate natural floodplain areas.

For more information:
Mr. Jacek Engel, Project Leader Vistula project, tel: +48 608-38 42 42, e-mail: jengel@wwf.pl
Mr. Piotr Nieznański, Project Leader Odra project, tel: +48 601-81 70 60, e-mail: pnieznanski@wwf.pl

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required