The principal and overriding objective of the Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project is to ensure protection of health and life as well as physical property for about 40% of Poland’s population and therefore the Project’s social impacts are considered to be positive.

Additional long-term benefits for the society arising from the implementation of the Project will include the following:

  • reduced or eliminated flood risk (including those related to ice jams),
  • protection of land as well as public and private property, including real properties and cropland,
  • improved public infrastructure, in particular on the rivers (dikes, bridges, weirs), which will result in the restoration of the economic function of the rivers. By bringing order to it, the landscape will gain new qualities as well as new recreation and leisure areas will appear (kayak trails, riverside boulevards, and bathing grounds), which may potentially contribute to increased tourism attractiveness of these areas. This will also be promoted by a potential increase in water tourism achieved due to improved river navigability.

In spite of these positive effects of the OVFMP, its implementation can also entail a negative impact due to the need to acquire properties for the implementation of the individual investments. A part of the investments that are carried out under the Project involve rehabilitation and upgrade of already existing infrastructure (e.g. existing embankments and groynes) and their social negative impacts will be limited. Other investments, such as the construction of new structures, including new dry polders (e.g. in the Nysa Kłodzka River valley) or the implementation of some investments in the Upper Vistula basin area, are associated with the need to acquire properties, which may cause economic impacts (e.g. due to expropriation of agricultural land).

To ensure the lowest possible social impacts, the selection of investments implemented under the Project and their design were guided by the following criteria:

  • least-cost and lowest-impact variants,
  • economic analyses to select cost-effective options, including a risk-based approach to investments,
  • creating “room for the river” and flood wave retention capacity upstream,
  • integration with environmental values and protection of habitats,
  • management plans based on broad consultation with stakeholders,
  • sustained financing through fee collection and/or transfers from the national or regional budgets and avoidance of significant environmental and social impacts, such as the need of economical or physical displacement.

The key Project-related social impacts arising from permanent land acquisition or temporary land use for the purposes of its implementation include the following:

  • loss of land (agricultural, non-agricultural, rural),
  • loss of assets (buildings, irrigation channels, fences, crops, trees, etc.),
  • physical displacement of people,
  • loss of community infrastructure or common property resources (e.g. access roads).

The land acquisition procedures adopted under the Project aim to minimize or avoid, if possible, the a.m. impacts. However, where they cannot be avoided, measures are taken which will ensure that the livelihood and living conditions of project-affected people are improved or at least restored to pre-project levels.

Fundusze Europejskie
Rzeczpospolita Polska
Wody Polskie
Unia Europejska
World Bank