The Project ‘Management of Unified Response Action – River Mura 2015’ was financed by the European Commission’s DG ECHO under the 2013 Civil Protection Financial Instrument for Civil Protection Mechanism Exercises.It was implemented in Croatia (National Protection and Rescue Directorate, Republic of Croatia as coordinator), Slovenia (Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, Republic of Slovenia as beneficiary), Hungary (Ministry of Interior, National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Hungary as beneficiary) and Austria (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Department ii/13 Operations, Crisis and Disaster Coordination as exercise player) in the period from 1 January 2014 until 30 June 2015.
The overall aim of River MURA 2015 was to improve the preparedness and response of the above mentioned countries to flood threats and emergencies as these countries are prone to the same threat - the flooding of the river Mura. As this natural phenomenon often transcends borders and has a cross-boundary character, it often requires transnational cooperation, especially between the bordering countries. However, the prerequisites for an efficient cooperation between them lie in their joint preparedness for flood response.
The main objectives of the „MURA 2015“ project were:
- Need for harmonization with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and EU Floods Directive
- Need for risk assessment, need to improve prevention measures, response and relief at transnational level
- Need to improve response capacity
- Need to provide necessary learning opportunity through team practice in a testing environment
- Need to establish procedures that can be useful for any other states participating to the Mechanism threatened by river floods – sharing of lessons learned
There were also some challanges in project’s objectives:
- Lack of timely information about the level of the water flow that can be key in coping with flooding
- Lack od exchange of information, insufficient and unreliable information
- Deficient transnational early-warning and alert system – need to prepare the international protocol on early warning
- Lack of reliable system of common hydrological forecast
Within the project an „Early Warning System“ Workshop was held in Leibnitz, Austria from 17th till 19th November 2014, where particular problems detected from past experiences were presented and suggestions were provided for the facilitation of cooperation between the countries of the river Mura basin.
The main conclusions of the „Early Warning System“ Workshop were:
- the need for standardization and harmonization of current legislation on floods
- the need to develop a common water management system related to the river Mura basin
- the need for bringing together Operators of Hydro power plants within an early warning system
The next Workshop „Flood Rescue“ was held in the City of Szentendre, Hungary from 8th till 10th of December 2014 where the objective was to establish good practice for the exchange of information at a local level in order to make the disaster preparedness, warning and response system as successful as the one at the national level.
The main conclusions of the „Flood Rescue“ Workshop were:
- to enhance preparedness to respond to flood threats and accidents
- to improve interoperability of the intervention teams
- to be better prepared to receive and provide assistance through the Mechanism
From 2nd till 4th March 2015 a Table top Exercise was organised in Sv. Martin, Croatia with the aim to coordinate international response teams when the request for international assistance is made by the Republic of Croatia.
In Ig, Slovenia we organised a Training for the Evaluators event from 8th till 10th of April 2015 with the purpose to prepare for the international field exercise MURA 2015. Mr. Wolfgang Krajić was the Trainer and the main Evaluator.
A full scale Exercise was held from the 18th till 22nd of May 2015 in the area of Međimurje and Varaždin County. The main objective of the Full scale Exercise was to test the process of requesting international assistance and responding to such a request after a large scale flood in the border area between Croatia, Austria, Hungary and Slovenia via the Mechanism. We also tested and improved:
- Procedures (alert, mobilization, deployment, etc.) of the participating intervention teams verified and improved
- Understanding of the EU CP Mechanism (incl. HNSG)
- Operational and coordinative cooperation amongst the intervention teams enhanced
- Provision and receipt of civil protection assistance via the EU CP Mechanism (incl. communication and coordination with ERCC) tested
I parallel we organised an International Conference on Water Management named ‘’Joint River Management and Cross-Border Incident Risks’’. Participants of the Conference were experts in the field of Water Management from Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia. The main conclusions of the Conference were:
- We need to achieve agreement on a more efficient management of the water sector along the whole Mura river
- We need to achieve agreement on the possibility of water retention through different kinds of interventions
- We need to achieve joint agreement on planning the works on the Mura riverbed
- We need to achieve agreement outlining the responsibility that, in case of high water / major accident / threat of emergency caused by high water, the upstream country is obliged to officially inform the downstream country
- We need to further improve the hydrological modelling and forecasting the occurrence of large water waves on the River Mura basin
The Final Conference ending the project „MURA 2015“ was held in Croatia, Hotel „Aristos“ from 11th till 12th of June 2015. It was attended by participants from Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia with the project's Desk Officer from European Commission Mr Per Oyvind Semb. All conclusions written for each project's activity were presented during the Final Conference and it remains to be seen what kind of follow-up project's will arise from the project „MURA 2015“ and continue to improve the field of Water Management.