Turning back the tide in flood-threatened regions
Strength in numbers and multi-disciplinarity reflect the approach taken in the FLAPP project where the combined efforts of 15 countries resulted in practical ways to deal with flood danger. FLAPP (FLood Awareness & Prevention Policy in border areas) enabled partnerships to be formed that otherwise may never have taken place and resulted in the introduction of measures including flood forecasting and river basin management to protect people, nature and economic development in at-risk border areas.
“It was interesting to see the Dutch “Room for the river” project in the field. I saw that flood prevention and nature development can be compatible as long as there is enough room. I can use this information in my own work in proposing measures to our regional government.”
Josu Elso, Project Manager GAVRN, Navarra, Spain
Residents in the areas covered by FLAPP are no strangers to flooding, hence the positive input from 37 partners who brought their water management experience from 12 river basin areas. From Ireland to Greece, and from Estonia to Spain, experiences are being shared and put to practical use.
Ideas flow into good practices
The lead partner of the FLAPP network was EUregio Meuse-Rhine (Maastricht, Netherlands). The main goal of project partners was to maximise flood prevention, forecast floods, disseminate information and limit damage. University researchers and NGOs joined local and regional water managers as partners, adding to the depth of talent. The network’s ideas for managing river and stream systems were soon incorporated into relevant tools including a Good Practice Map, Good Practice List and policy recommendations for the EU and national authorities.
Flood prevention seen from all angles
With 15 border areas (including non-EU countries) under the microscope, project partners covered diverse catchment areas, including the rivers Danube, Tisza, Evros, Ebro, Nemunas, Meuse, Rhine, Scheldt, Elbe and Oder. The partners examined flood prevention based on structural and spatial measures, sustainable flood management, especially in important ecological areas, calamity management, cross-border cooperation to stimulate a river basin approach, and flood awareness among the public. New flood management concepts (“Fluvial Territory” and “Room for the River”) were introduced and discussed. A website, brochures, signs and leaflets as well as reports on flood policies, information systems and cross-border maps feature in FLAPP’s strategy to communicate awareness and prevention.
Co-operation builds up momentum along riverbanks
The project was pivotal in triggering cross-border meetings to examine floods and pollution, including along the Nemunas Delta on the Lithuanian-Russian border. Elsewhere, Irish guidelines on floods are expected to be translated into Greek and used in the Evros Delta, flood management in Szeged and Budapest (Hungary) drew inspiration from the mobile dams in Maastricht (Netherlands), while the Tisza River Basin Flood Information Centre looked to the Saxony Flood Centre for guidance.