Upravljanje poplavama

Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented. Besides, some human activities and climate change contribute to an increase in the likelihood and adverse impacts of flood events. The sustainable flood management is therefore a basis for decision-making at international, national, regional and local levels.

Appearance and characteristics of high waters in the Sava River basin are greatly influenced by the basin features and shape, geographic and rainfall distribution season, state of the ground water level which affect infiltration of river water, spillage of waters into natural inundations and by functioning of the flood protection systems. Taking into account features of the terrain, intensive rains and snow melting in the upper parts of the basin, mainly belonging to Slovenia, there are frequent floods with local character, but quite often they impact downstream parts of the middle course of the Sava River. The shape of the basin is asymmetrical with respect to the Sava River watercourse, where greater part is drained by tributaries from the mountainous area. Although historic floods indicate that lowland areas along the Sava River left tributaries in the middle course can suffer from significant damage, greater floods with significant impact to most of the basin include flood plains in the middle and lower parts of the Sava River, and they are conditioned by runoff caused by abundant rainfall and/or abrupt snow melting which occur in southern mountainous area (sub-basin of Kupa, and especially of Una, Vrbas, Bosna and Drina).

Floods in the Sava River Basin generally occur in spring, after snow melt and in autumn, after heavy rainfall. The wide floodplains and the natural lowland areas act as detention and retention areas for flood waves. However, despite the fact that many of these floodplains, mostly on tributaries, are not embanked, flooding in the basin may occur with disastrous impacts, causing extensive damage and loss of life in the Sava Basin.
In 1964, a catastrophic flood hit Zagreb, causing 17 casualties, while 150,000 persons were evacuated. In January 1970 an area of over 220,000 ha was flooded in the Middle and Lower Sava River, inflicting huge damage to agricultural and urbanized areas. Croatia faced further floods in 1974, causing 7 dike breaches along Sava River downstream of Zagreb and flooding 270,000 ha of land. Flooding also occurred at various other locations along Sava River and its tributaries. In 1990 extensive flooding occurred in the Upper Sava Basin, causing substantial damage to infrastructure. Similar extensive floods were experienced in Slovenia in 1998, 2007 and 2010.
In May 14-20, 2014 disastrous floods occurred in the Sava Basin leading to 79 casualties and substantial economic damages that amounted to about € 2.04 billion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, € 1.5 billion in Serbia and  € 300 million in Croatia. Such damage levels underscore the need for improved flood management in the Sava Basin through structural and non-structural measures.

The total surface of potential flood areas is around 18,850 km2 with a population of approx. 4.4 million. According to Corine 2012 10,600 km2 is agricultural land, around 6,900 km2 are forests and semi-natural areas, approx. 1,000 km2 artificial areas, and the remainder of around 350 km2 is made of wetlands and water areas. Based on available data, 251 potential flood areas were identified as important for Sava River basin, with a total area of 5,659.29 km2, which is 5.8 % of total area of the basin and 30.1 % of the total area of all analysed potential flood areas.
The Sava River Basin countries have had a long tradition of different activities in flood management. Parties to the FASRB, having noted the need to deepen the cooperation and to implement jointly agreed activities, with the aim of ensuring preconditions for sustainable flood management in the Sava River Basin on the basis of Article 30, paragraph 1 of the Framework Agreement, have agreed to prepare the Protocol on Flood Protection to the Framework Agreement (Protocol) - link
With the aim of fulfilling the goals of the Protocol, the Parties have undertaken the obligation to cooperate in the implementation of the following activities:
  • Development of the Flood Risk Management Plan in the Sava River Basin, with all the preliminary steps in accordance with the Directive 2007/60/EC
  • Establishment of the Flood Forecasting, Warning and Alarm System in the Sava River Basin
  • Exchange of information relevant for sustainable flood protection
  • Implementation of all measures stemming from the planning documents mentioned above or from other mutually agreed or coordinated measures.

The Protocol emphasizes the importance of coordination measures, works and activities aimed at decreasing the flood risk throughout the Basin, and the implementation of these activities in accordance with the "no harm rule" principle. Therefore, in order to contribute to the decrease of harmful consequences of floods, in particular for human life and health, environment, cultural heritage, economic activities and infrastructure, the Parties have agreed to cooperate in the implementation of above activities.

The Protocol represents a firm legal foundation for the implementation of all activities agreed by Sava countries, via their joint platform – the Sava Commission.