Geographia Polonica (2007) vol. 80, iss. 2

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River Training Vs. Flood Risk in the Upper Vistula Basin, Poland

Adam Łajczak

Geographia Polonica (2007) vol. 80, iss. 2, pp. 79-96

Abstract

This paper assesses the effect of river training in the 20th century on the evolution offlood risk in the middle and lower courses of certain Polish mountain and upland rivers, and inthe lowland Carpathian foreland. The overall anthropogenic impact on the flood risk is a combinationof two contradictory trends: (a) the shortening of the floodplain inundation time (betweenthe levees) as a result of the deepening of the trained channel; and (b) the increasing height of theflood water and frequency of flood culminations, a result of the flood wave transformation. Theauthor, in his flood risk analysis, regards the former trend as the more influential. The highestlevels of all types of flood risks were found along the valley reaches with unembanked channelsthat displayed a tendency to reduce both their depth and gradient. This type of reach occurs immediatelydownstream of embanked reaches with a deepened channel. The author also addressesways to mitigate flood risk levels, taking into account limitations stemming from local land developmentand legal conservation status.

Keywords: flood risk, flood, upper Vistula basin, river training

Adam Łajczak [alajczak@up.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland