8 Feb 2017

Last week, 20 forecasters in the riparian countries were presented with the Flood Forecasting and Warning System (FFWS) for the Sava River. Deltares, Royal HaskoningDHV, Eptisa, the Hydro-Engineering Institute of Sarajevo and Mihailo Andjelic joined forces last year to help the countries in South-Eastern Europe to establish a uniform FFWS.

This consortium combines the best international expertise in flood and drought forecasting and early warning with strong local expertise and good working relationships with national and regional authorities.

Better information leads to better decisions

In response to floods and droughts, the consortium– alongside the World Bank - develops a joint, operational flood forecasting and early warning system for the riparian countries in the Sava River Basin. Better information will lead to better decisions and the resulting Sava-FFWS will enable the five countries involved to take the right management decisions and implement operational measures to prevent and mitigate severe flood and drought situations on the basis of accurate forecasts of flows and discharges with a long lead time.

Special project

The Sava-FFWS is a very special project because the Sava river basin (97,700 km2) is shared by five countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, while a very small area of the basin area also extends to Albania. Each country has its own models, monitoring systems, forecasting systems, water authorities and interests. An effective FFWS has to bridge the differences and support collaboration in the field of water management. Between 14 and 20 May 2014, there were disastrous floods in the Sava basin that resulted in 79 casualties and substantial economic damage in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. 

Training / pre-release

The presentation and training last week was given by Klaas-Jan van Heeringen and Arjen Haag (hydrologists Deltares) and Imra Hodzic (Eptisa) at the Slovenian Environment Agency in Ljubljana. Participants were very satisfied and were especially happy with the fact that after many years of talking, they finally got something in hand that really works. FFWS was estimated as very functional and advanced.

About the project

The Sava project started in June 2016 with a meeting in Zagreb of the stakeholders from the five countries and it will end in August 2018. The principal aim of the project will be to deliver support that will allow balanced decisions to be taken during floods and droughts. The efforts of the consortium will focus on three aspects: how to establish an effective organisational structure, delivering the right information at the right time and to the right place, and training for the relevant stakeholders.