Some causes which produced the large flood impact

6.1. A BIG MISTAKE - GREEN CORRIDOR DESTRUCTION

The Danube "green corridor" destruction and development for farming purposes was a mistake. Thus, along the course of the Danube, all former ponds and commons have been embanked and used as farming lands. It cannot be said if this was a good or bad action, but the remaking of the Danube green corridor has to be taken into consideration.

There are two types of floods: upstream and downstream floods. In 2005, Romania faced severe cases of both these types of floods. The prevention and mitigation strategy of such phenomena should be considered on several grounds, such as: wetlands reconstruction, floodplain identification and dam building to partly store the water flow. Protection against floods cannot be provided only by dikes.

The people are responsible for the disaster generated by water on the upper streams. Large and uncontrolled forest clearings were made; roads were built for carrying the logs. These roads now encourage the water accumulation like torrents. It is difficult to raise a dam capable of stopping a torrent.

Romania has special mutual agreements with its neighbors concerning the international waters. A mutual agreement was signed with Serbia, for example. This stipulates that we should use the Iron Gates reservoir as floodwater storage, so that in case of high flows at the reservoir outflow Belgrade city would be not flooded. This was one of the conditions requested when the dam was first built. But the prime purpose of the reservoir is to generate hydroelectricity, and when the water levels become too high, the excess water has to be released in order to avoid damage to the dam. Thus, the hydroelectric power plant does not profit from extreme historical flows. It is therefore necessary to create polders and afforested areas in the upper basin, to retain water. On the lower course, where the river beds are large and there are broad, flat floodplains, the best solution is to create side reservoirs able to receive additional water for short time periods. The water will be discharged gradually later after the flood has passed. In this manner, a time redistribution of the flows is made without jeopardizing the riparian area.

6.2. CLIMATIC CHANGES - ONE OF THE REASONS

In Romania since 1998, floods have occurred in the west and drought in the south. For the past 20 years, the World Meteorological Organization has been performing studies which indicate that the global mean temperature is increasing permanently. During the last 20 years the temperature increased above the levels for the past 2,000-3,000 years. The climatic change currently being experienced is now generally acknowledged to be due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Such climatic change can generate rainfall amounts of over 100 l/m2 within 24 h.

This situation is unique; hence it follows that a long term prognosis cannot be made. It seems inevitable that Romania will experience heavy rainfall during the coming summers. Substantial funds are being allotted from the State budget and an external loan has been given by the World Bank to develop strategic measures, and to repair, maintain and build dikes. 7,000 billion RON were allotted for dike repairs and maintenance. This strategy is being developed to reduce further flood impacts that will be frequent in Romania from now on. The Romanian Government borrowed over 1 billion euros from the World Bank. Action departments and an action regulation system have been set up. An urgency list has been drawn up.

Tests for setting up a new alert system for floods, which became operational by the end of 2006 were performed on the Danube hydrographic basin. The International Commission for the Danube Protection (ICPDR), an international agency located in Vienna, which coordinates this project, indicated that this system now replaces the national alert systems, aiming to coordinate all defense devices against floods existing on the whole Danube basin.

Up to the present, the alert systems for floods were developed only at national level. An ICPDR flood expert has stated that the new system is designed to send flood alerts 10 days before a flood occurrence. Initially, a pilot program was developed on the upper and middle reaches of the Danube and this is then being extended to the whole river. The recent snowmelt and abundant rainfall have generated flood levels on the Danube higher than any experienced during the last 100 years. Hundreds of families have been evacuated in Romania and many thousands more were at risk from increasing water pressure against the dikes.

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