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Hydraulic modelling study against floods – support to the competence and readiness of Georgian institutions

Georgian specialists from the institution responsible for river and flood analysis, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) in Tbilisi, are in the course of acquiring and improving skills in hydraulic modelling of rivers. The project herein is a continuation of training in this field for NEA staff that commenced in 2015, expanding the scope of training to include such topics as working out simulations of dam disasters and scenarios of broken bridges.

Designating flood zones is also a prerequisite for fulfilling part of the requirements of the European Flood Directive 2007/60EC, which is incorporated into some of the provisions of the EU Association Agreement that Georgia signed in June 2014. Learning about independent modelling and the use and interpretation of data obtained from own as well as external sources (e.g. LIDAR aerial scanning) on selected rivers by NEA specialists not only contributes to fulfilment of the requirements of the Association Agreement but is also a step toward the country’s modernisation of flood prevention methods.

The considerable deficiencies of Georgian hydrology are related to a lack of meteorological, precipitation and cartographic data due to inadequate measuring stations and lack of data after the fall of the USSR. Upgrading measuring equipment and improving measuring methods and instruments is part of the process of rebuilding data resources in Georgia.

The project’s implementation is a continuation of actions carried out in 2014–2015 under two developmental projects funded by Polish Aid.

Hydraulic modelling study against floods – support to the competence and readiness of Georgian institutions

The first module was implemented from 1 April to 31 December 2016 in Tbilisi, in the Aragvi river basin, below the Zhinvali Dam, and on five rivers of the Kakheti region that are tributaries of the Alazani: the Lopota, Chelti, Intsoba, Avaniskhevi and Shromiskhevi.

The project envisaged multi-stage training for NEA specialists concerning complex functions of one-dimensional modelling in the specialist MIKE-11 software. This training improved specialists’ skills in using data from scanning rivers by the LIDAR method, providing explanations of the results of measuring an area with this method.

In addition, the actions of the first project module aimed at supplementing NEA equipment to include IT tools (ArcGIS) and improving the agency’s information resources by purchasing specialist literature on hydrology, forming the seeds of a professional library for agency staff and students from Tbilisi universities.

Apart from actions to improve the skills of NEA staff, an assessment was to be made of the educational and medical infrastructure with regard to floods in the flood zones designated in the 2014–2015 projects.

The project implementing entity is the Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation and the local partners are the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the International Association Civitas Georgica.

The project beneficiary is the National Environmental Agency and, in the longer perspective, residents of villages of the Kakheti region threatened by flood.

Hydraulic modelling study against floods – support to the competence and readiness of Georgian institutions

Largely as a result of the independent work of specialists from Georgia, flood zones were designated for six rivers in Georgia (the Aragvi in the part below the Zhinvali Dam, the Lopota, Chelti, Intsoba, Avaniskhevi and Shromiskhevi) in an effort to fulfil requirements of the EU Flood Directive. Altogether, after three years of work with the National Environmental Agency, there are now 12 flood zones, encompassing 11 rivers that are tributaries of the Alzani river and the lower part of the Aragvi river. Under projects of the Polish Centre for International Aid, flood zones were designated for nearly all flood-generating tributaries of Kakheti’s Alazani river, which is a significant step toward fulfilling the Association Agreement. Selected NEA staff learned how to incorporate bridges and dams into the model and became acquainted with methods of selecting scenarios for dam disasters; a scenario for the breaking of the Zhinvali Dam was made and situational flood zones were designated.

The NEA gained in transparency, acquiring legal Arc GIS software and in this way improving the application of norms in transparency and observance of copyrights. The NEA obtained several dozen specialist books concerning flood issues and risk analyses to enrich its newly created library.

The Georgian local governments of Kareli, Telavi and Lagodechi became acquainted with the flood threats in their regions, obtaining reports on threat assessments of educational and medical facilities located in areas threatened by flood on their grounds: Didhevi, Stori, Ninoskhevi, Lagodelhiskhevi, Durudzi and Kabali, together with recommendations for improvements.