Official web site of
City Bijeljina

Panel Discussion Held in Bijeljina: ‘In Harmony with Nature - Changing the Approach to Flood Risk Management’

Bijeljina hosted today a panel discussion ‘In Harmony with Nature – Changing the Approach to Flood Risk Management,’ organized on the initiative of young master's student Nikola Stevanović, with the moral and material support of the City.
Mayor Ljubiša Petrović stated that these topics are significant for Semberija, which suffered multimillion damages in the floods of 2010 and 2014.
“Besides the knowledge conveyed to us today by eminent professors from various European countries, we will establish directions for further action aimed at effective flood risk management. Regarding the Drina embankment, upon taking office, I found absolutely no documentation, so the entire process started from scratch. The expropriation process for around 110 land parcels was partially resolved amicably and partially through legal means. We realized that the compensation for expropriation was multiple times lower than in the case of land expropriation for highways, so our first step was to rectify this imbalance and set prices approximately equal for parcels of the same category. Following this, we proceeded with obtaining building permits, which we efficiently carried out in the steps under our jurisdiction. The embankment construction is planned in the length of 33 kilometres, and the first section of about three kilometres, whose construction has begun, cannot protect Janja or any other local community because the embankment was supposed to be built further upstream along the Drina River. The initial phase of construction will cost around four million BAM. The rough earthworks cost about one million BAM per kilometre, which would mean that the value of these works for the Drina embankment is around 35 to 40 million BAM. We know that multimillion amounts of money flow into the entity budget every year as water concession fees, so theoretically, one embankment could have been built every year. Seven years have been lost, along with the World Bank as a creditor, which withdrew due to inactivity on the project's realization. As a result, ‘Vode Srpske’ (Waters of Srpska) had to find a new creditor to fund these works. The City's commitment is to continue resolving property-legal relationships - the expropriation of parcels for the Drina embankment construction. So far, we have spent 729,000 BAM for this purpose, all with the goal of efficiently protecting human lives and property in the future,” said the mayor.
Milan Gavrić, Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management, stated that the most eminent experts from Serbia and Republika Srpska gathered at this scientific conference to exchange and expand their knowledge about the seriousness of climate change, which is becoming increasingly evident every day, and about ways to mitigate its effects.
“Our intention is for this panel discussion to be just the first step in a series of activities that will lead to the implementation of measures to mitigate the destructive effects of major water events caused by evident climate change affecting our countries,” stated the Ministry.
Martina Egedušević from the British consulting firm Arup spoke about the knowledge gained through research on natural flood solutions, ways in which the flood problem can be naturally regulated within the local community, contributing to reducing climate change in the right way. As she concluded, Republika Srpska has the natural potential for this.