Limiting floods, nurturing nature

A huge new reservoir is to be built in north-eastern Hungary, covering an area of some 51 square kilometres. The main goal is to cut the risk of damaging floods in an area around the River Szamos.

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The construction of the Szamos-Kraszna flood-level-reducing reservoir comes under flood-control development plans for the Tisza Valley. Once completed, the reservoir is expected to be a key component of those plans while enabling better management of the local landscape.

Large new reservoir

The River Szamos has its origins in Romania, with only around 50 km flowing through Hungary. It is known for its great variations in water volume, which regularly lead to serious flooding of residential areas. These floods especially affect vulnerable farmland and livestock.

In October 2008, Hungary submitted plans to build a new reservoir in the Észak-Alföld region. The project is part of the Improvement of the Vásárhelyi Plan (IVP) programme, which comes under the development plans for the Tisza Valley flood-control system. Co-funded by the Cohesion Fund, the project seeks to reduce local flooding and improve landscape management around the reservoir.

The project involves the construction of a reservoir delimited by dykes, with controllable water intake and outlet structures. The Szamos–Kraszna-köz flood-level-reducing reservoir will be established on the left bank of the Szamos, surrounded by eight main settlements. It will cover an area of just over 51 km2 and be capable of receiving 126 million m3 of water if it is filled up to its maximum storage levels; in that case the average water depth will be 2.5 m. The reservoir will be surrounded by existing and planned dykes, some 114 m above sea level.

The reservoir’s water intake structure will have a discharge capacity of 520 m3/second. Overall reservoir discharge will be through a gated three-hole structure.

No more serious floods

Expected benefits of the project include a major reduction in flooding for the 205 000 people who live in the surrounding area. Planners also hope the structure’s water intake will enhance landscape management, in better harmony with the natural conditions and in line with the 2010-2014 rural development programme. Retained water could for example benefit nature and be used for landscape irrigation.

The reservoir will also include groundwater observation wells and observation equipment, to keep an eye on the quality and quantity of water in the reservoir. There will also be environmental monitoring, to ensure that local natural and semi-natural habitats are well protected.

Draft date