Poland and World Bank sign lending agreement to protect against floods in Odra River Basin

May 23, 2007
The Government of Poland and the World Bank today signed a €140 million loan to co-finance the Government's Odra River Basin Flood Protection Project, designed to protect the population in the river basin against loss of life and damage to property caused by severe flooding. Marta Gajecka, Deputy Minister of Finance of Poland, and Edgar Saravia, World Bank Country Manager for Poland, respectively signed the Loan Agreement on behalf of the Polish Government and the World Bank...

WARSAW, May 11, 2007 -- The Government of Poland and the World Bank today signed a €140 million loan to co-finance the Government's Odra River Basin Flood Protection Project, designed to protect the population in the river basin against loss of life and damage to property caused by severe flooding. Marta Gajecka, Deputy Minister of Finance of Poland, and Edgar Saravia, World Bank Country Manager for Poland, respectively signed the Loan Agreement on behalf of the Polish Government and the World Bank.

Proceeds from the World Bank loan will finance part of the total project cost estimated at €505 million; the balance will be financed by the European Union Cohesion Fund, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), and the Government of Poland. The Government and the CEB also signed a Framework Loan Agreement for €204.9 million. Imre Tarafás, Vice Governor of the CEB signed on behalf of the institution.

The Project, which will be implemented over a six-year period will provide protection to more than 2.5 million people against flooding in several major towns and settlements in the voivodships of Slaskie, Opolskie and Dolnoslaskie. It will also support enhancement of the "ecological corridor" in the Odra Valley that provides a habitat for many species, including migratory fish and serves as an important north-south migration route for many bird species as well as for certain mammals.

This will be achieved by construction of a dry polder in Raciborz and modernization of the Wroclaw Floodway System, coupled with improvements in the existing plans for flood management, monitoring and evaluation, and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan in the Odra River Basin. Extreme flood peaks will be reduced through storage in the dry polder on the Odra River just upstream of Raciborz town, enabling a reduction of the flood peak downstream of the reservoir and allowing better control of the operation of the river system.

The flood carrying capacity of the Odra River channels through and around Wroclaw will be increased to pass high floods safely without major damages to surrounding areas; this will also delay the timing of flood peaks at the confluence of the Odra with the Nysa Klodzka so that the adverse combination of the two floods that was so damaging in 1997 will become unlikely in the future. The existing plans for emergency preparedness and flood management in the Odra Rivers Basin will be reviewed and improved with the participation of local governments, relevant agencies and other stakeholders. The flood forecasting system will also be improved to ensure the full and efficient operation of the recently installed hydro-meteorological system.

"The World Bank continues to work with the Government of Poland to support improvements in the flood warning and forecasting system, asdamages caused by floods in the Odra River Basin -- particularly by large floods of the magnitude of the 1997 flood -- impose huge costs on human life and the economy. We are certain that this project will result in better protection of the Polish population against severe floods," saidEdgar Saravia, Country Manager for Poland.

Since Poland rejoined the World Bank in 1986, commitments to the country total approximately US$6.5 billion for 44 operations.

Also see:
-- "Poland: Odra River Basin Flood Protection Project"
-- "Poland and World Bank Join Forces Against Flood Risks In the Odra River Basin"

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