Ensuring and continuously improving flood protection is one of the most important factors determining sustainable and stable social and economic development of regions and countries. The Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project assumes implementation of the most urgent tasks in the field of flood protection within selected parts of the basins of the two largest Polish rivers, the Vistula and Odra.
The Project will provide three distinct areas with flood management infrastructure and related measures:
The population of the regions in the proximity of the proposed works and measures is estimated to be about 15.1 million; this is the population of the municipalities, cities, and towns that are reported to be either historically subject to significant flood damages and losses or at high risk (based on the Flood Risk Maps). This number includes the population of the towns and cities located downstream the direct project area, such as Nysa and Wrocław, which will enjoy further reduction in flood hazards thanks to the extra buffering capacity of the four new dry polders. This population receives different types and extents of direct and indirect benefits. They include economic and social benefits as well as physical protection benefits. Out of this population, about 5.2 million people are directly exposed to floods, living in or in the immediate vicinity of areas and structures that are at risk of flooding. About 122,000 people are currently living in the actual flood zones of 1-in-100 year floods and will receive full or improved physical protection benefit compared to the current situation.
Furthermore, most of the protected areas comprise both populated areas with town houses, apartment blocks, farms, and so on, and economically productive areas and assets such as factories, commercial centers, tourist locations, strategic transport and communication networks, farms, etc. Thus, the Project directly supports shared prosperity and job creation benefiting all of the identified beneficiary population. For this reason, the actual number of beneficiaries can exceed the values given.
The Project will in addition strengthen the national institutional capacity for flood management and forecasting as well as enhance the capability for infrastructure operation (of existing and new infrastructure, such as locks, weirs, barrages, dry polders, and reservoirs, etc.) over the whole of south and west Poland. It will also help to strengthen the capacity to prepare river basin management plans (RBMPs) and investment prioritization plans, improve the flood policy framework, and enhance the capability for infrastructure operation (of existing and new one). This will be achieved through more advanced weather forecasting tools and mathematical simulation models that will inform decision-makers faster and more reliably regarding the need to evacuate and take other precautionary measures, which will reduce loss of life and damages in emergency situations. This capability will enhance protection levels to Poland’s overall population of over 38 million.
 Physical protection benefits include avoidance of, among others: evacuation; inundation of a house, factory or other asset to a depth of higher than 0.5m, and avoided loss of life and disease. Economic benefits include, for example, the avoidance of temporary or permanent job loss due to closing of factories, and disruption of transportation and communication lines. Social benefits include, for example, avoidance of disruption of normal life conduct, education, health services, as well as the costs of caretaking of family members and neighbors who are affected physically.