Polish Waters increases flood protection for the Kłodzko Land and its activities are divided into several stages. 4 dry polders are currently under construction and their task will be to reduce flood peaks in the Bystrzyca Dusznicka and Nysa Kłodzka Rivers. At the same time, works associated with improvements to existing infrastructure in nine towns located in the Kłodzko Valley are planned to be launched at the beginning of the next year. They are aimed at reducing flood damage in the immediate vicinity of river banks.
The Kłodzko Valley is one of the most attractive areas in Poland in terms of spa resorts, landscape values, and historical sites located there, but this region is also an area of high nature value. The areas where improvements to flood control infrastructure will be carried out have a very high building density and hence minor flooding and floods cause substantial physical damage, also posing a direct threat to the health and lives of residents living in these areas.
It is necessary carry out improvements to flood control infrastructure in Międzylesie, Długopole-Zdrój, Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Kłodzko, Stronie Śląskie, Duszniki- Zdrój, Szczytna, and Polanica- Zdrój in order to facilitate the flow of floodwater, which occurs most frequently in these areas. Floods in the mountain catchments of the Kłodzko Land are violent. Due to fast runoff of rainwater from steep mountain slopes and then its discharge through the mountain streams and rivers, the water flows with a velocity of 5 m/s. It carries away huge amounts of rock debris, washes away trees, causes local bank landslides, and devastates river retaining walls and bridge abutments. That is why it is so important to restore the functionality of existing infrastructure in the immediate vicinity of river banks and to add new elements to it. These are activities associated with providing passive protection that ensures a safe flow of water in the case of high water discharges with flow rates with a probability of exceedance p=10% (once every 10 years), most frequently occurring in this region.
Works involving construction, reconstruction, and restoration of existing river training infrastructure, including technically related structures, are to be carried out during the planned passive protection stage. Thus, these investments will include a range of activities, among others the following:
Currently, the procedures associated with water law permits are ongoing as well as geological and engineering documentation, final designs, and bidding documents are under preparation. These project activities are to be launched at the beginning of the next year and be completed in 2023. All these investments will be implemented concurrently, both as regards the tendering stage and the construction stage.
Protection of private property
The passive protection plan for the Kłodzko Valley envisages optimal measures that can be undertaken to provide flood protection in urbanized areas of the region. The project implementation area in the valleys of the Nysa Kłodzka, Biała Lądecka, and Bystrzyca Dusznicka Rivers is characterized by a high building density in residential, commercial, transport, and spa areas, which are predominantly located along the rivers. At the design stage, interference with private property was reduced to an absolute minimum.
These works will not involve resettlement (i.e. leaving one’s place of residence). In some localities, due to a high building density and the specificity of the structures to be rehabilitated, part of these works will be carried out by temporarily using (or acquiring permanently) private land located directly on the rivers which is necessary to perform the works. In such cases, all property owners will be entitled to receive compensation for this. The rules for temporary land use or permanent land acquisition will always be individually consulted directly with respective property owners while conducting socio-economic surveys, direct talks (maintaining epidemic-related safety procedures), and public consultations.
Contract-specific Land Acquisition Plans will be prepared for all the investments, which will specifically define the above activities in such a way so as to maximally avoid the taking of private land, and where it is not possible, to determine measures that will provide necessary compensation for negative socio-economic effects of the implementation of a particular contract, including the acquisition or temporary use of a property. These documents will be prepared as part of public consultations specially organized for this purpose.
Additional benefits for the population
The passive protection plan for the Kłodzko Valley was subjected to a public consultation at the end of 2019. At that time, in total 140 proposals for additional solutions were submitted, both accommodating the needs of local communities and resulting from the unique character of this region. Part of these proposals will be implemented. They comprise, among others, the construction of a flood relief channel, including the construction of a bridge that will provide access to the buildings of the Museum of Papermaking, the construction of a flood embankment that will protect the municipal wastewater treatment plant in Polanica-Zdrój, installation of floating debris barriers in the Bystrzyca Dusznicka River to protect Duszniki-Zdrój and Polanica-Zdrój, grading the land for a beach in Bystrzyca Kłodzka, and the construction of stairs to the river in Kłodzko, including improvements to riverside areas in order to create educational trails.
At the same time, Polish Waters is working on the next stage of flood protection investments in the Kłodzko Valley which will cover non-urbanized areas. Due to its specificity, this region belongs to one of the areas that are most at risk of flooding and therefore it is necessary to continue activities aimed at increasing flood protection for the nearly 160,000 population of the Kłodzko Valley and also at protecting this region’s historical sites, infrastructure as well as unique fauna and flora habitats. Hence, a public consultation on the updated Flood Risk Management Plans is planned to be conducted in May this year.
Environmentally friendly measures
In designing necessary investments, not only the landscape and recreational aspects of the Kłodzko Valley were taken into account, such as the educational trail in Kłodzko, grading the land for a beach in Bystrzyca Kłodzka, rehabilitation of a water intake used in a former glassworks in Stronie Śląskie, and a water intake for firefighting in the Kamienny Potok stream in Szczytna. Environmentally friendly solutions will also be used, such as riffles, fish migration channels, and fish passes at weirs. Their design is based on simulation of the natural stream characteristics and the use of natural materials, such as fascine (willow branches), stone riprap, and natural stone, which will provide appropriate migration conditions for many fish species and aquatic organisms.
The contracts will be performed with the highest care for the natural environment in order to guarantee effective protection of the climate, fauna and flora, surface and ground waters as well as soils and land. In compliance with the requirements of national legislation, Polish Waters has obtained all environmental permits under the relevant proceedings and environmental impact assessment reports have been prepared. Moreover, because these investments will be co-financed by the World Bank, their implementation conditions with respect to environmental protection must also comply with the World Bank’sOperational Policies regarding environmental protection. This means that Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) will be prepared for each contract. These plans are precisely defined instructions for participants of the construction process how and for what reason works should be carried out in order to perform them in compliance with the applicable administrative permits and the World Bank’s Operational Policies. The purpose of EMP documentation is to show very clearly environmental hazards and risks that may occur during the performance of a contract and measures that are designed to mitigate any adverse environmental changes caused by such works.
The above-mentioned reports have also confirmed that the performance of these contracts will not cause permanent landscape changes and that their effects will have a positive impact on landscape values and on biological and hydromorphological conditions by converting river sills and weirs into riffles. The impacts of works will be temporary and associated with the presence of a construction camp, haul roads, equipment and machines necessary to carry out works, and also temporary areas for storage of materials that come from demolition work and removal of material deposited on the riverbed.
Given that protected fauna and flora species are found in the project area, these improvements will be carried out under ongoing environmental supervision of specialists, among others the following: botanist – phytosociologist (natural habitats and protected plant species, including bryophytes), dendrologist (tree maintenance and protection), entomologist (protected species of invertebrates, macrozoobenthos), ichthyologist (fish and lampreys), herpetologist (amphibians and reptiles), ornithologist (birds), chiropterologist (bats), and theriologist (mammals other than bats).
The above-mentioned environmental measures will also include compensatory measures. The Investor will, among others, restore nesting sites of the grey wagtail, white-throated dipper, and edible dormouse by installing breeding boxes, and stocking with river trout will also be done in cooperation with an expert ichthyologist. Fish fry originating from the Nysa Kłodzka catchment will be used for stocking and the extent of fish stocking will depend on assessment of actual losses in the population of a particular species and the amount of fish fry released by the local fishing authority.
The flood protection investments in the Kłodzko Valley will be carried out under the Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project #OVFMP, which is implemented with the support of international financing institutions, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (also called the World Bank) and the Council of Europe Development Bank as well as with the support of funding from the EU Cohesion Fund and the state budget.
The planned cost of all these investments is about PLN 178.4 million.