DESPRO partner communities’ visit to Poland

On March 4-8 an introductory visit to Poland for DESPRO partner communities took place.  
During the 4 days of the visit participants from Dnipro, Sumy, Lugansk, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Poltava oblasts had an opportunity to learn the best water supply and solid waste management practices used in gminas, Polish territorial communities.


Summarizing the results of the visit, DESPRO expert for public services Andrii Kavun, said, that a gmina could found its own organization to maintain its water supply and disposal system, build such an organization jointly with another gmina, join an existing service-operating organization, or delegate network maintenance to a third-party operator, for example, a private one. We should stress gmina’s ability to provide water supply and disposal service independently, through creation of a separate unit. In Ukraine this option is not yet within the competency of communities. Such flexibility in the choice of service provision ways under decentralization allows a community to choose the best option in terms of maintenance and service.


Functioning of the Fund for environmental protection and water economy, one of the key funding sources of water supply and disposal projects, attracted particular attention of the visit participants.


Another particular feature of the service organization in Poland is the founding of a national regulatory operator, Wody Polskie. In order to clarify the mechanism of its activity, the visit participants had an opportunity to discuss this subject with a water supply specialist. Another important aspect of activity of profile organizations in the water supply sphere (besides the multi-variant approach) is the implementation of environmental protection projects. For example, one of the priorities of Wojewodstwo (Province) Fund for environmental protection and water economy is the “Clear air” project. The project became the first priority after successful implementation of a series of initiatives within “Clear water” stream. Particularly, residents of Gdansk have an opportunity to experience the positive results of this work, when they visit the city beach. Even 30 years ago swimming there was forbidden. Now this Baltic Sea harbor is totally safe for recreation.


Careful waste water treatment is the subject of particular attention, both for the city communal enterprise (CE) – the owner of Gdansk water supply and disposal networks, and for CEs of gminas – Stare Pole, Kolbudy, government mansion of Przywidz gmina. Poles favor top-notch technological solutions, allowing them to maintain and service water supply and disposal systems in the long term prospect (15 years, in the least).


More detailed information on the visit is available in Ukrainian on the Decentralization portal.

The visit has been organized by the Swiss-Ukrainian project “Decentralization Support in Ukraine” DESPRO.