The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending CZK 9 billion (approx. EUR 321 million) to finance the implementation of the national Strategy for Protection against Floods in the years 2007 - 2012.
In recent years large inundations have become unfortunately a rather frequent phenomenon in the Czech environment. In 2000, the Government devised a national strategy to provide protection to the areas at risk, particularly where there are large concentrations of population. The implementation of this strategy has already started and was supported by the Bank with a first EUR 60 million loan for Flood Prevention. It will be further realised through a complex set of interrelated measures during the years 2007-2012. The EIB loan will finance flood protection investment schemes across the whole country contributing to the reduction of the potentially devastating effects of floods and safeguarding human health. The anti-floods measures will substantially improve the security of the population living in the five Czech river basins (Morava, Labe, Ohre, Odra and Vltava). As these territories are part of the European catchment area discharging water into the Black, North and Baltic Seas, they will also have significant cross-border effects with positive implications for people living along respective rivers in neighbouring countries.
Individual actions supported by the loan will cover for example the construction or maintenance of reservoirs and dams, including dry reservoirs, the increase of the flow capacity of watercourse channels, protective dams, discharge channels and tunnels, etc. The Czech Ministry of Agriculture will be the promoter of the flood prevention measures, while local authorities involved in water management, e.g. River Boards, Regions and Municipalities as well as pond managers will be the final beneficiaries of the loan.
In the absence of adequate flood prevention measures the cost of the damages provoked by increasingly strong floods can be very high. In the Czech Republic, the EIB already financed several reconstruction projects after the catastrophic floods of 1997 (EUR 200 million) as well as the reconstruction of infrastructure (EUR 400 million) and the renewal of Prague's metro (EUR 80 million) damaged during the 2002 floods.
Mr. Ivan Pilip, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Bank's operations in the Czech Republic, stated: I highly appreciate that the EIB lending effectively supports the Czech Republic in its effort to take measures to reduce flood damages in the future. This is significant to improve the security of citizens and avoid human and economic losses as we witnessed during recent floods, particularly in 1997 and 2002.
The EIB, the European Union's financing institution; finances sound investments that foster balanced regional development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States as well as of the future Member States (Romania and Bulgaria).
Since 1990 up to now in the Czech Republic the EIB has lent a total of EUR 7.5 billion. Loans to the Czech water sector, including the current loan, amount total EUR 1.15 billion.