Increasing ecosystem service provision by creating multifunctional blue-green infrastructure.
Due to the key role of the multifunctional flood reservoir in the development of a new perspective in water management and flood prevention, the project aims to be recognised as a good practice example not only in the Ljubljana Urban Region but also in Slovenia.
Local Task Force
Even though the project was mainly facilitated by the City of Ljubljana, several actors participated during the process. For instance, water permissions were granted by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning as well as by the water sector of the Slovenian Environment Agency; the research, design and hydraulic modelling were conducted by the University of Ljubljana while the design of the educational path was carried out by ICRO Ltd Landscape Architects, with the input from local community; the maintenance of the reservoir was in charged of LiviPlant Ltd.
The flood reservoir Podutik has been redesigned into a multifunctional flood reservoir that provides a broad range of ecosystem services through the integration of nature-based technologies (Eco Technologies). Some of the benefits are flood prevention, water retention for irrigation purposes of nearby green areas, water pollution mitigation from urban gardens and sewage overflows, increased self-cleaning capacity of the ecosystem, enhanced biodiversity, and the provision of a recreational and educational path.
The project built on a previous case study elaborated for the Brdnikova flood reservoir, which acts as a dry flood reservoir on the same river catchment area Glinscica. At the same time, the Podutik Reservoir is in accordance with the Environmental Action Program 2014-2020, a program impulsed by the local administration within the framework of the European Capital Green Award and in coordination with both, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Floods Directive. The program has two main objectives: 1) to improve and maintain a good ecological status of the nearby watercourses and, 2) to mitigate floods in the nearby settlements of the city of Ljubljana. In addition, as one of its main functions is to enhance the biodiversity of the area, it is also in accordance with the Habitats Directive.
The project had to face several obstacles, including a funding shortage, difficulties in obtaining water permissions and a lack of communication with other stakeholders.
The city of Ljubljana and TURAS co-funded the project by providing landscape architects, engineers, biologists, and experts on water and green technologies. However, essential resources such as spatial planners, funds for the construction of the educational/recreational path and info points, were missing.
Strokes of Luck
During many years the City of Ljubljana has given support to the development of sustainable solutions, which motivated the city to participate in the competition for the European Capital Green Award. After winning the award, the support to promote these concepts significantly increased even though the financial resources did not.
The City of Ljubljana has already recognised the multifunctional flood reservoir as a good practice example in the Ljubljana Region due to its implementation has led to multiple measurable changes 8for instance, an increase of biodiversity, the mitigation of water pollution and a strong identity of the area).
The project has been published in multiple publications, reported for the European Capital Green Award, documented in Restoring rivers and lakes in European cities and presented in several conferences about Green Infrastructure in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe. In addition, it has been presented at the round table: "From Failure to Sustainable Investment" organised by the NGO-Umanotera. The main intention was to draw attention from government representatives and professional public to the problem posed by the failure of large infrastructure projects and to present good practice examples of local-scale solutions.
The concept of multifunctionality has already started to be transferred to the planning and construction of other flood reservoirs, which will ensure a cross-sectoral approach in the long-term. Furthermore, the learning and recreational path around the reservoir is expected to be constructed and connected to the existing paths within the next years, depending on the available financial resources.
Key lesson learned - Tjaša Griessler explains
"An integrated planning approach, as well as a strong engagement of stakeholders are key for a successful planning and implementation."
Tjaša Griessler Bulc, UL