Gold standard for utility performance

International meeting of disaster management- and water service experts in Budapest 18 March 2016

Between March 7 and 8 Budapest Waterworks was the host of the two-day international meeting and workshop in connection with the EUrban Water Aid (EUWA) project financed by the European Union.

Beside the Hungarian team Serbian, Slovakian and Croatian experts are also participating in the project. The main objective of the project which started with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Disaster Protection Directorate is to organize a large-scaleflood rescue and urban water purification practice as part of international disaster assistance. In order to this the project organization established with the assistance of the four country’s disaster managementagencies and water service providers, will jointly develop a manual which describes the good practices of the cooperation in the urban search and rescue and mobile water purification in case of disaster situations and further improve the previously created operation management and GIS applications which are based on risk maps.

On behalf of the Hungarian host organizations participants were greeted by Dr. Ferenc Tóth Brigadier General, National Civil Defense Chief Inspector and by Csaba Haranghy CEO of Budapest Waterworks. Both of their speech stressed that the climate change poses such challenges to our countries in this region for which the preparation and prevention requires serious preparedness. Dr. Ferenc Tóth emphasized that our organization involves an increasing number ofcivil, voluntary organizations for the protection against disastersby today more than 14 thousand defense-ready volunteer has been involved in the activities of the disaster management and some of them even with special rescue abilities. In order to the rescue organizations to achieve a higher technological knowledge level it is essential for them to participate in domestic and international practices. During the course of the EUrban Water Aid project participants implement a large scale and complex urban water purification and flood rescue practice on the Tisza River, where disaster management organizations, waterworks and the Red Cross can all practice flood defensetogether under the European Civil Protection Mechanism. Beyond that over the course of the next year and a half they will jointly develop a practical manual, a methodological guide which may help that protection against damages caused by the water to become even faster and more uniform and its recommendations will be tested during the practices.

Csaba Haranghy CEO of the Budapest Waterworks in his opening speech said that he considers this alliance exemplary and necessary in the long-term which led to successfully apply on the European Union’s application supporting civil defense practices. He expressed his belief that each of the participants can learn and benefit from the cooperation, since arriving from countries withdifferent natural conditions they gained different experiences in the areas of loss prevention, damage control and assistance. The common work, and more importantly the common practices, are giving an opportunity by thinking together to create these protocols and action plans, which can be tested in real situations – fortunately only simulated – during these exercises and if they have to prove themselves in a real situation they will be able to act as a team and provide assistance either for each other, or for the victims on farther parts of the world.

On behalf of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Directorate General Per Øyvind Semb senior consultant, EU liaison, coordinator of the EUWA project expressed his delight that this cooperation came into existence and congratulated the participants for the jointly developed successful tender material. 

Following the morning kick-off meeting and the plenary session presenting national and international flood defense practices and experiences, participants continued the discussion in three workshops: topics were command and control, operative tasks, support activities and logistics.