Daily newspaper “Vecernje Novosti” article and news portal b92.net recent report highlight the Government of Serbia resolve to prevent recurrence of floods in the Kolubara River Basin that took in 2014 almost EUR 1 billion in damages and losses.
Following the disastrous floods four years ago, which affected more than 20% of Serbia’s population, the Serbian Government employed science, and used the Government of Japan funding to establish the facts and plan prevention. Coordinated by the Public Investment Management Office (PIMO) and with the Public Water Management Company “Srbijavode” and the “Jaroslav Černi” Water Institute expertise, UNDP prepared a Study on Flood Risk Management in the Kolubara River Basin proposing measures to prevent and better control future flooding.
The Study estimated that EUR 10 million would be needed annually to significantly increase safety from floods in the basin. During 2017 and early 2018, Serbian government has secured approx. EUR 25 million funding from the Abu Dhabi Fund credit line, to carry out these protective measures. The first construction works are starting soon. As reported by “Novosti”, and recognized as one of the priorities within the UNDP-supported Study, a 900m long channel “Sovljak” is being built to protect the river Ub from the influx of large waters. This is just a start of comprehensive works to be carried out in the coming years in the Kolubara river basin, to ensure safety from floods in this 3.600 km2 area, that is a home to 335.000 people, living in 16 municipalities in central Serbia.
In 2016, together with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and PIMO, UNDP also supported the City of Kraljevo and 14 municipalities of the West Morava river basin to pool resources and work together to prevent risks and ensure efficient response and recovery from floods and other disasters. The City of Valjevo and seven other municipalities soon followed suit and joined this initiative, recognizing that 1 dinar invested in prevention saves 4 to 7 dinars needed for reconstruction after the unmanaged disaster.