Bulgaria’s environment ministry: River levels to rise as weekend begins

Strong rainfall and higher temperatures that will accelerate the melting of snow, along with high soil saturation, are expected to push up river levels in Bulgaria on March 27 and 28, Bulgaria’s Environment and Water Ministry said.

In many places in the country, the soil was waterlogged, the ministry said. It said special attention would be paid to the monitoring the Tundzha, Maritsa, Arda and Mesta rivers.

While the morning of March 27 is forecast to be dry, rain – mainly in the southern parts of the country – is expected to begin in the afternoon and by the night of March 27 there is expected to be rainfall throughout the country.

On March 28, rainfall of 10 to 15 litres a cubic metre is expected, except in north-eastern Bulgaria, where rainfall is expected to reach 30 litres a cubic metre.

Meanwhile, Environment and Water Minister Ivelina Vassileva has said that it would be better to devote more resources and effort to preventing floods rather than dealing with the aftermath.

Vassileva was speaking on March 25 after a meeting of the inter-departmental working group on the condition of dams. The meeting was attended by Bulgaria’s regional governors.

According to the National Institute of Hydrology and Metrology, runoff from snow and rain in the country in February was 45 per cent higher than in January. At the same time, it was five times greater than the water flow in January last year.

At the meeting, the governors proposed legislative changes, including the possibility of setting up a specific fund specifically for flood prevention.

Vassilev said that she could not say whether this would be appropriate, given that the state has financial resources available through the Interdepartmental Committee on Disaster Management.

At the meeting it became clear that the state has limited funds and municipalities should make the most of the opportunities provided by EU funds – not only the Solidarity Fund but also other European programmes. These enable municipalities and regional governments to apply for funding of measures against floods.

On March 25, the European Commission announced it had decided to grant Bulgaria 10.5 million euro from the Solidarity Fund to assist with recovery from the June 2014 floods in the country.

Bulgaria’s Regional Development and Public Works Ministry said that it was expected that the country would receive the money by April 5.

The funds will be distributed among municipalities worst-hit by the June 2014 floods in the regions of Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Dobrich, Kurdzhali, Bourgas, Sofia region, Gabrovo and Shoumen.

Four ministries which have to submit specific project proposals will also receive funds. These will be used to repair public infrastructure. Contracts will be concluded right after project approval with an 18-month implementation deadline.

(Archive photo: Floods in Varna, June 2014)



The Sofia Globe staff

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