No more flood disasters from Poland’s River Odra

Odra River Poland

Odra River Poland

Poland’s Odra River has flooded its banks more than 16 times in 200 years – causing death and destruction. A World Bank-supported project is now in place to prevent future flooding, and protect the thousands of homes – and millions of residents – located around the Odra River Basin.

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.

Dry polder

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.

In addition to the reservoir, the World Bank-supported project is improving embankments and dikes along the Odra River Basin, and reconstructing river beds. And new homes and neighborhoods are being built in safe, flood-free areas, at government expense.

Upon its completion in 2017, the flood protection project will ensure long-term safety of the Odra River Basin’s millions of residents and their properties through flood defense measures.

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Flood solutions – Flood Risk Management (Dossier)

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