By 2030 all main Polish rivers will be used for inland navigation, announced the Deputy Minister Anna Moskwa of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways during recent ‘Transport Connects, Water Unites’ seminar in Warsaw.
The seminar was organised on October 11th on the occasion of a Dutch water and maritime trade mission to Poland. According to the deputy minister, the seminar took place at a very special occasion as the Polish government has recently introduced a new water law.
The renewed approach on water management focuses on combining Polish rivers closely to inland navigation and the integration of Polish water ways in the trans-European transport network (Ten-T) corridors.
The restoration of the main Polish rivers started off as flood protection projects after severe floodings in 1997, 2001 and 2010. This has led to a new flood protection plan that is combined with making the river Odra and Wisla accessible for inland navigation.
“Following the recent water shortage we now also seek for a better balance of our river management and we consider floods and droughts as two closely related issues”, said Moskwa.
On behalf of the Dutch delegation, Frank Goossensen of Top Sector Water & Maritime suggested deputy minister Moskwa to seek trade-offs by combining the multiple goals on project level. As an example he mentioned the Room for the River project near Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
According to Goossensen, the Room for the River project brings Nijmegen multiple advantages, since flood protection and urban development go hand-in-hand the project. The river levee was laid back 350m so the city is now less prone to flooding. Goossensen invited the Polish Deputy Minister to team up with Dutch partners who were involved in the Room for the River project.
Director Monika Niemiec-Butryn, responsible for the inland navigation at the ministry, explained at the seminar how Poland envisions new navigation corridors from north to south and east to west. Many feasibility and cost-benefit studies are underway and will be followed by Environmental impact studies next year. “That will be our most challenging part”, predicted Niemiec-Butryn, “as there are several Natura 2000 sites along the rivers”.
She also announced the development of a strategic plan to combine the goals on flood protection, inland navigation and waterfront development. “With Dutch cooperation we may to be able to beat the success of the international renowned Room for the River program.”