How can municipalities in the foothills deal with the problems of water shortages and excesses?


The answer to this question will be sought by participants in a conference scheduled for March 18 and 19, 2024. in Jelenia Gora. It will also be an opportunity to take a closer look at the project Between drought and flooding. Blue-green infrastructure in the municipality of Lesna. The event will focus on practical solutions gathered to address the real needs of local governments.

Beginning of the challenge

Happily, we are already ending the stage of discussion about whether we are facing climate change. More and more local governments are moving from the doubt phase to looking for solutions that will help them adapt successfully. This is how the idea of cooperation between the Lower Silesian municipality of Leśna and the Sendzimir Foundation, which for years has specialized in water conservation, rainwater management and the promotion of blue-green infrastructure, was born.

The Between Drought and Flood project was a response to the problems Forest has faced over the past two decades. In 2010. The municipality experienced a flood wave that inundated the center of the village up to a meter high as a result of a violent storm and damming of water on the Milosz Creek. In 2013. A similar scenario was realized on the Bruśnik stream. Then, in 2015 and 2018, the region faced the effects of drought, which required the ad hoc involvement of the Volunteer Fire Department to deliver drinking water by barrel trucks directly to farms. This was a clear signal that planning was needed to improve water security for residents.

Time for implementation

The Foundation, together with the municipality of Lesna, thanks to funding obtained from the EEA funds, carried out an educational program and prepared (with the participation of residents) a whole set of retention solutions. As a result, the foundations have been laid for the Izera Adaptation Center, a space showcasing the implementations used in the municipality. At its core is an educational path.

The retention basins, flower meadows, rainwater containers and rain gardens created in Lesna are just a selection of the solutions to help manage rainwater and inspire residents to take action on their own plots. This is because economies of scale are important. In rural areas, only with the involvement of residents is it possible to minimize the harmful effects of recurring floods and droughts, which are becoming more frequent.

Municipalities from foothill areas – popularization of solutions

Forest is no exception. The problems faced by the municipality are typical of the entire Jizera foothills and the Giant Mountains. Hence the ambitious plan to share the experience gained in the project with other local governments in the foothill regions. The occasion will be a conference scheduled for the second half of March in Jelenia Gora.

Participation in the two-day event is free. Applications are accepted until the end of February via the registration form. The number of seats is limited. More information about the conference can be found on the project website. The conference program emphasizes its practical nature, and the selection of speakers will provide a comprehensive look at the topic of blue-green infrastructure. During the exchange of good practices, panel discussions and workshops, participants will learn about many inspiring solutions, how they can be implemented in their own municipalities and where to get funding for this.

A broad perspective

The partners of the event are institutions actively working for the region and solving water problems. The city of Jelenia Gora is the initiating center for the regional climate change adaptation plan, which will be discussed by Michal Krzywicki-Guz, the head of the ZIT Management Department of the Jelenia Gora Agglomeration. The Karkonosze National Park, meanwhile, is the leading institution promoting the idea of protecting wetlands and floodplains around naturally meandering streams throughout the Jelenia Góra Basin. Dorota Wojnarowicz, who for years has specialized in protecting and fully utilizing the potential of the Karkonosze peatlands, will tell the story.

A panel discussion led by Ilona Gosk, managing director of the Sendzimir Foundation, with the participation of, among others, the following, also promises to be interesting. Renata Kwiatek, deputy mayor of Jelenia Gora, Dr. Andrew Raj, director of the Karkonosze National Park, and Szymon Surmacz, mayor of Lesna. Speeches by representatives of these institutions and specialists will be available for participants to discuss and supplement with behind-the-scenes discussions. The event schedule also includes workshops and networking sessions. There will be no shortage of opportunities to exchange knowledge.

Guided tour of the Forest

Since the conference summarizes the project implemented in the field, there will also be a study visit – a walking tour of Lesna. More than a dozen facilities are to be presented, tools for rainwater management, which have been incorporated into the attractive form of recreational areas. Some of them are designed for easy and low-cost adaptation in a residential setting. With this event, Forest turns an experiment conducted in the municipality into a solution manual for the entire region.

Photo. main: Sendzimir Foundation

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