Greece and Bulgaria start counterflooding project at Strymonas and Evros Rivers

Greece and Bulgaria held their first meeting on Tuesday on the EU-funded program for the prevention of flooding at the river basins of Strymonas (including the artificial Lake Kerkini), Evros and Ardas, in the northern Greek city of Serres and the region named after it.

Strymonas is also known as Struma in Bulgaria. The Ardas is a tributary of Evros River, which runs along the East Thrace border between Greece and Turkey.

The upgrade of existing infrastructure and the construction of new one belong to the Interreg Greece-Bulgaria 2014-2020 program, with a total budget of 11.5 million euros.

The meeting was attended by Macedonia regional director Apostolos Tzitzikostas and his counterparts from participating Bulgaria regions. He said that the project began with studies drawn two years ago on preventing flooding in the greater region of Serres and a search for funding.

The Central Macedonia region will be responsible for waterproofing a 1,150-metre section of the eastern wall of Kerkini Lake. This will include a modular counterflooding system (1,300m-long), and four pumps to remove excess water. The region’s geology will also be studied in order to set up a system to manage erosion in the basin of Strymonas River and add any additional measures.

According to Tzitzikostas, the eastern wall project will cost 2.5 mln euros and the funding will come from the Serres ordinary budget. “The project is at the contract signing phase, and work will begin in 2018,” he said. “Besides protecting the valley of Serres, we will also achieve the link-up of funding tools, our national program of public investments and Interreg, something that the European Commission also seeks,” he added.

Tzitzikostas also mentioned four new and large-scale counterflooding projects in Serres, at four streams, that were included in NSRF funds for the region of Central Macedonia at a total cost of 6.4 mln euros. The four streams include Kastrolakkas, Efkarpia, West Gazoros and the Sisamia Trench.