Last update:
2021-09-17

Siarzewo dam, Poland

For years, false information has been disseminated about the need to build the barrage on the lower Vistula in Siarzewo, the purpose of which would be to 'support' the aging Włocławek dam. There is a chance that this monument to communism won't be created


Description:

In the government's document ‘Assumptions for the development plans of inland waterways in Poland for 2016-2020 with an outlook until 2030’, a plan was announced for a significant improvement in navigation conditions on the Vistula River waterway - connecting Gdańsk with Warsaw and forming part of the international E-40 waterway. It has been estimated that the costs of this development will amount to PLN 31.5 billion [1]. Furthermore, the ‘European Agreement on the Main Inland Waterways of International Importance’ – signed by the President of Poland in January 2017 – obliges to take steps to achieve at least IV international navigability class on the Vistula.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Siarzewo dam, Poland
Country:Poland
State or province:Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship (Kujawy-Pomerania Province)
Location of conflict:Raciążek Commune
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The scope of the planned investment will include the Siarzewo dam with the lower site of the barrage up to km 712 + 000 and accompanying facilities [18]. Projects will concern the following objects and issues [3]:

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Project area:10,000 ha
Level of Investment:1,388,722,000 USD
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:11/01/2018
Company names or state enterprises:Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie (State Water Holding Polish Waters) from Poland - investor
Grupa Kapitałowa Energa (Energa SA) from Poland - project creator / advisor
Relevant government actors:- Ministerstwo Klimatu i Środowiska (Ministry of Climate and Environment)
- Ministerstwo Infrastruktury (Ministry of Infrastructure)
- Regionalna Dyrekcja Ochrony Środowiska w Bydgoszczy (Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Bydgoszcz)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Koalicja Ratujmy Rzeki (Save the Rivers Coalition)
http://www.ratujmyrzeki.pl/english
- Siostry Rzeki (River Sisters)
https://www.facebook.com/Siostry-Rzeki-1772150046238916/
- Bracia Potoki (Brothers Torrents)
- WWF Polska (WWF Poland)
https://www.wwf.pl/
- Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczno-Kulturalne Klub Gaja
http://klubgaja.pl/
- Towarzystwo Ochrony Przyrody,
- Fundacja Greenmind (Greenmind Foundation)
https://greenmind.pl/greenmind-foundation
- Towarzystwo na Rzecz Ziemi (Foundation for the Land)
http://www.tnz.most.org.pl/en/
- Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków (Polish Society for the Protection of Birds - OTOP)
https://otop.org.pl/about-us/?lang=en
- Towarzystwo Przyrodnicze Alauda
https://alauda.org.pl/
- Klub Przyrodników (Naturalists Club)
https://www.kp.org.pl/en/
- Salar Sp.zo.o. (user of the fishing circuit)
- Partia Zieloni (The Greens)
https://partiazieloni.pl/
- Polska 2050 Szymona Hołowni (Szymon Hołownia's Poland 2050)
https://polska2050.pl/
- WSCS (World Sturgeon Conservation Society)
https://www.wscs.info/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Women
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement
Other socio-economic impacts- high costs of environmental compensation (e.g. restocking)
- wasted potential for the development of local tourism due to the mass appearance of bloodworms after the creation of the water reservoir
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:WWF Poland and the Save the Rivers Coalition argue that the solution to the problems of the Włocławek barrage is not the construction of Siarzewo dam, but the dismantling of the existing one and the renaturalization of this section of the Vistula. Such a move would in turn require the drainage of the area now occupied by the flood and the disposal of harmful sediments.
In addition, they note that the same amount of renewable energy that the hydropower plant on the dam in Siarewo would be produced in this region of Poland with alternative, less harmful to the environment and much cheaper methods: by combining investments in solar, wind and biogas plants. Therefore, the construction of another dam on the Vistula is not necessary, neither because of the need to significantly increase the production of renewable energy in Poland, nor for energy security [19].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:On August 18, 2021, at the request of 9 environmental organizations submitted 3 years earlier, the Minister of Climate and Environment completely revoked the environmental decision to build a dam in Siarzewo, which was issued in December 2017 by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Bydgoszcz, and submitted it for re-examination. The justification states that the RDOŚ decision didn't exhaust the environmental assessment, and that it was issued in violation of the procedure for obtaining opinions from other authorities and public participation. It was noted that the construction of a new barrage is not justified by the issues of securing the national power grid, health and life of citizens or safety, but by the safety of the hydrotechnical facility located in Włocławek.

On September 6, 2021, the State Water Holding Polish Waters filed an objection to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw against this decision.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[1] UCHWAŁA Nr 79 RADY MINISTRÓW z dnia 14 czerwca 2016 r. w sprawie przyjęcia „Założeń do planów rozwoju śródlądowych dróg wodnych w Polsce na lata 2016–2020 z perspektywą do roku 2030” (RESOLUTION No. 79 of the COUNCIL OF MINISTERS of June 14, 2016 on the adoption of 'Assumptions for the development plans of inland waterways in Poland for the years 2016-2020 with a perspective until 2030')
[click to view]

[3] Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie (2021). PLANOWANY ZAKRES ZADANIA. OPRACOWANIE KOMPLEKSOWEJ DOKUMENTACJI PROJEKTOWEJ I OPRACOWAŃ

TOWARZYSZĄCYCH DLA INWESTYCJI BUDOWA STOPNIA WODNEGO SIARZEWO NA RZECE WIŚLE W TYM PROJEKTU BUDOWLANEGO WRAZ Z UZYSKANIEM DECYZJI O POZWOLENIU NA REALIZACJĘ INWESTYCJI (PLANNED SCOPE OF THE TASK. PREPARATION OF COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN DOCUMENTATION AND STUDIES ACCOMPANYING FOR INVESTMENTS CONSTRUCTION OF A SIARZEWO DAM ON THE VISTULA IN THIS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT TOGETHER WITH OBTAINING THE PERMIT DECISION FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INVESTMENT)
[click to view]

[5] Decyzja Ministra Klimatu i Środowiska z dn. 12 sierpnia 2021 roku DIŚ-III.61.1.2021.16. (Decision of the Minister of Climate and Environment of August 12, 2021 DIŚ-III. 61.1.2021.16.)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[6] C. Błaszczyk, P. Marcisz (2021). EKSPERTYZA PRAWNA DOTYCZĄCA ZGODNOŚCI Z PRAWEM UNIJNYM BUDOWY STOPNIA WODNEGO SIARZEWO (LEGAL EXPERTISE ON COMPLIANCE WITH EU LAW FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SIARZEWO WATER STAGE). Report WWF Poland. Warsaw.
[click to view]

[9] WWF Poland (2012). Ocena wpływu zbiornika Włocławek oraz planowanego stopnia i zbiornika w Siarzewie na warunki przepuszczania wielkich wód na podstawie powodzi z maja 2010 (Assessment of the impact of the Włocławek reservoir and the planned barrage and reservoir in Siarzewo on the conditions for passing large waters on the basis of the May 2010 flood). Warsaw.
[click to view]

[19] J. Popczyk, K. Bodzek (2020). ALTERNATYWA DLA PLANOWANEJ ELEKTROWNI WODNEJ W SIARZEWIE W KONTEKŚCIE BEZPIECZEŃSTWA ENERGETYCZNEGO (AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE PLANNED HYDRO PLANT IN SIARZEWO IN THE CONTEXT OF ENERGY SAFETY). Report WWF Poland, Warszawa.
[click to view]

[10] WWF Poland (2001). Studium kompleksowego rozwiązania problemów stopnia i zbiornika Włocławek. Prognoza skutków społeczno-ekonomicznych i środowiskowych (A study of a comprehensive solution to the problems of the Włocławek reservoir and dam. Forecast of socio-economic and environmental effects). Warsaw.
[click to view]

[13] L. Gibson, E.N. Wilman, W.F. Laurance (2017). How Green is ‘Green’ Energy? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol. 32, issue 12, pp. 922-935
[click to view]

[4] P. Cierpucha (2021, March 25). Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie. Siarzewo – innowacyjny stopień wodny (Siarzewo - an innovative water step)
[click to view]

[2] Ł. Pieroń (2019). Prace nad Programem Rozwoju Drogi Wodnej Rzeki Wisły (Works on the Vistula River Waterway Development Program)
[click to view]

[7] ŚwiatOZE (2021, August 23). Decyzja o budowie zapory w Siarzewie uchylona (The decision to build a dam in Siarwo has been annulled)
[click to view]

[8] K. Kojnar (2021, August 19). OKO.press. Minister klimatu uchylił decyzję dla zapory w Siarzewie. Czy to koniec „monstrum zagrażającego Wiśle”? (The Minister of Climate has revoked the decision for the dam in Siarzewo. Is this the end of the "monster threatening the Vistula"?)
[click to view]

[12] R. Jurszo (2021, March 17). 4,5 mld zł na „socrealistyczne monstrum zagrażające Wiśle”. Rząd chce zapory w Siarzewie (PLN 4.5 billion for the "socialist realist monster threatening the Vistula". The government wants a dam in Siarzewo).
[click to view]

[11] GAZETAPRAWNA (2021, April 9). Jak ugryźć kilka miliardów, czyli rzecz o budowie zapory w Sierzawie (How to bite a few billion, or about building a dam in Siarzewo).
[click to view]

[14] R. Müller (b.d.). Responsible Art. River Sisters.
[click to view]

[17] Aleksandrów Kujawski NASZEMIASTO (2018, April 11). Zebrali 102 327 podpisów popierających budowę zapory w Siarzewie (They collected 102,327 signatures supporting the construction of the dam in Siarzewo)
[click to view]

[20] A.j Mikulski, K. Bącela-Spychalska, M. Skóra (2018, January 8). NAUKA DLA PRZYRODY. Projekt budowy stopnia na Wiśle poniżej Włocławka (A project to build a barrage on the Vistula River below Włocławek)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[15] 'River Sisters' Facebook account. (2019, March 14).
[click to view]

[16] 'River Sisters' YouTube account. (2021, May 12)
[click to view]

[18] 'Polish Water National Water Management' YouTube account. (2020, November 24)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Maciej Kałaska, [email protected] Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw
Last update17/09/2021
Comments
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