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Dutch experts on Thessaly floods: “Forget the big dams! Give room to the rivers”

Dutch experts shed light on the causes of the floods disaster in Thessaly plain that destroyed agricultural land, farming animals, homes and businesses in September 2023.

The experts hired to evaluate the causes of the floods have reportedly proposed a new water management model.

Among their preliminary findings included in their report, are environmental errors such as illegal dams for irrigation and arbitrary interventions near riverbeds.

In a report they have already submitted to the Greek government, the Dutch experts highlighted the need for a single management body and proposed the establishment of a flood risk monitoring agency.

According to Mr. Nikitas Mylopoulos, professor and president of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Thessaly, the group argued that interventions should be made at three levels, prevention, governance and crisis management, state broadcaster ERT reported.

In their report, the experts raised the problem of human-made interventions in the rivers of Thessaly, which resulted in the limitation of their bed and flood zones, for which they propose to increase.

Regarding the water management, they argued that it should be based on hydrological data (e.g. river basins) and for this reason it is necessary to establish a Basin Management Authority, with executive powers.

The Dutch also believed that changes should be made to the crisis management model, with the installation of an early warning system that will operate on a 24-hour basis.

They stressed that preparedness for future floods can be further increased by the creation of stations, where equipment will be kept and machinery for emergency repairs and removal of haulable materials, so as to protect sensitive points on embankments as well as homes and vital infrastructure.

The final report including the plan to protect Thessaly’s plain from flooding is reportedly expected to be delivered by the end of February 2024.

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