DriDanube - Focus on proactive drought preparedness


The development process of the Slovak Drought Action Plan, an example of a proactive initiative to prevent and mitigate negative impacts of drought on a national level, is catching attention of the international media.

The Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency has called it “a landmark programme to combat drought” that “could be an inspiration for other states”.

Since summer 2017, both Slovak DriDanube project partners Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe and  Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, are members of the inter-ministerial working group tasked to develop the Plan. Currently, the Plan is available for comments by 25 January and its adoption by the Government is expected in early spring (March 2018).

IPS quoted “The H2odnota v krajine (Value of H2O in the country) plan, which is expected to be approved by the Slovak government this Spring, includes a range of measures which, unlike many plans for drought, is proactive and focuses on prevention and mitigation instead of reacting to drought once it has occurred.

Richard Muller, Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe at the Global Water Partnership, an international network of organisations working to promote sustainable management and development of water resources, helped draft the plan.

He told IPS: “A few of the measures in this plan have been adopted in other countries as part of climate change adaptation, but Slovakia is the first country in the region to have this kind of action plan to combat drought.”

“It is a landmark plan…other countries could look at this and be inspired and say, yes, this is something we should copy.”

The focus of the plan is on preventive measures in a number of areas, specifically agriculture and forestry, urban landscape, water management, research and environmental education.

The measures involve projects to modernise irrigation systems and change forest structure towards better climate change resilience as well as rainwater harvesting, tree planting, development of green spaces, green and vertical roofs and rainwater infiltration in urban landscapes.

It also covers water management, dealing with preparatory work for the reconstruction of smaller reservoirs of water and green infrastructure, including wetlands restoration.

There is also a crisis plan to supply water to different sectors of the national economy during the prolonged drought while it also involves programmes for public education and raising awareness of drought and water scarcity.

Together, these measures should, Muller explained, mean that even if and when there are long, dry spells, there will be some mitigation of the effects.”

„As the plan is focused on prevention, its effectiveness during times of drought may not be immediately noticed by many. But even when there is no drought, it has the potential to effect a positive change.“ And this is exactly what DriDanube is trying to do; to move from the current reactive drought management in the Danube region to more proactive approach. The Slovak experience will enrich and support the preparation of the final DriDanube strategy - Strategy to improve Drought management in the region. 

The full version of the article can be found at http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/can-drought-prevented-slovakia-aims-try/

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