The first edition of Stormwater Poland conference organised by RETENCJAPL Sp. z o.o. was held on 27-28 March 2017 in Gdańsk. An inspirational and full of history interior of European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk was the venue for the event.


The theme of the conference was structured around the new Water Law, rainwater management in the respect of climatic changes, acquiring funds for modernisation and redevelopment of already existing dewatering systems, new methods of modelling and designing as well as hydrological and meteorological monitoring.


Briefly speaking, the event was a big and positive surprise. Why was it a surprise? Because conferences on rainwater in Poland have been held for over a decade but Stormwater Poland 2017 proved to be different. And why was it so different?


First and foremost because of its high importance, which was determined by the presence of Mariusz Gajda, Under-secretary of State in the Ministry of Environment, Anna Czyżewska, the Director of Water Management Department in National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management and Dorota Jakuta, the President of “Polish Waterworks” Chamber of Commerce who gave speeches in the opening panel entitled New Water Law and its Impact on Stormwater and Meltwater Management. The participation of such eminent figures in the conference was a sign that the issue of stormwater in Poland is no longer a marginalised problem of water management and environmental protection. The honorary patronage over the conference of institutions such as National Water Management Authority, the Polish Association of Sanitary Engineers and Technicians and Institute of Meteorology and Water Management also attests to this fact.


The new quality of the conference was set by the participation of a large number of foreign speakers among which were prof. Witold Krajewski from the University of Iowa, the USA, prof. Paul Davies from the University of Bolton, England, prof. Carlo De Michele from Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Mogens Bjørn Nielsen from Denmark, Roman Edela Ph.D., Lothar Fuchs Ph.D., Jens Didszun Ph.D., Thomas Gruenig and Tobias Menzel from Germany, Slavco Velickov Ph.D. from the Netherlands and Víctoriano Sanz Losada from Spain. They gave 11 out of 27 presentations and were often keynote speakers at the conference. The conference was entitled Stormwater Poland 2017 since the English language was the language which most speakers used during their presentations as well as conversations in the lobby.


A large number of conference participants which amounted to over 230 people was a very positive surprise. What is more important there were municipal officials and the representatives of companies from drainage and wastewater management businesses from all over Poland. The representatives of large Polish cities such as Warsaw, Łodź, Cracow, Poznań, Wrocław, Rzeszów, Częstochowa, Słupsk, Gdańsk also attended the conference.


During the first day of the conference there were four sessions and a discussion panel when the participants could ask the speakers questions.


The conference was commenced with a panel New Water Law and its Impact on Stormwater and Meltwater Management during which Minister Mariusz Gajda spoke on the impact of the new Water Law on rainwater and meltwater management in Poland. The talk featured new fees system, main aims of water management reform and ways of achieving them. This panel also presented the issue of financing projects connected with stormwater in cities by National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management. Next, the President of “Polish Waterworks” Chamber of Commerce Dorota Jakuta presented the policies of “Polish Waterworks” Chamber of Commerce with respect to stormwater.


The theme of the second panel of the first conference day was the city of Gdańsk. The representatives of Gdańskie Wody and Gdansk Water and Wastewater Infrastructure presented good practices of stormwater management in Gdańsk. Ryszard Gajewski, the President of Gdańskie Wody pointed out that the number of investments connected with flood prevention in the city is rising. Citizens’ Panel, which was held several months prior to the conference was also mentioned here. The citizens taking part in the panel had the opportunity to discuss the activities connected with torrential rain prevention. Maciej Pawelec, a specialist in the field of weather information representing Gdańskie Wody, presented the project of dewatering system for the city. Andrzej Chudziak, Technical Director at Gdańskie Wody also pointed out that there is a need to change the way of designing dewatering system in the city. Gdańsk-themed panel was concluded by a speech given by Jacek Kaszubkowski, the Director of Design Department at Gdansk Water and Wastewater Infrastructure, who spoke on the complex underground water monitoring system in Gdańsk.


The third panel was devoted to the best practice in stormwater management. This panel featured presentations of practices used in foreign cities such as Aarhus in Danmark and Kiel in Germany. The speeches were given by foreign practicians such as Mogens Bjørn Nielsen with a speech Climate Adaptation in the City of Aarhus in which he presented the consequences of climatic changes for the city of Aarhus and the political decisions on the adaptation plan to these changes together with guidelines for areas with flood hazard.


The following speaker was Roman Edel Ph.D. Eng. from Kiel City Council who presented ways of stormwater management in Kiel, Germany. The presentation featured the general plan of rainwater dewatering of the city and examples of rainwater retention. He also presented the policy of rainwater drainage fees calculation used in Germany.


Wojciech Falkowski, the President of the Board of Ecol-Unicon sp. z o.o., which was the General Partner of the conference, spoke on the innovative ways of rainwater retention. He pointed out main challenges for intelligent ways of rainwater retention management in Polish cities. The presentation outlined benefits for local authorities, operators and citizens. An interesting part of the speech was the presentation of Bumerang SMART solution, which is an intelligent monitoring and management system for rainwater drainage network and HYDROZONE modular, multipurpose retention reservoirs fitted in smart devices, which offer solutions for current needs and challenges for “smart cities”.


The third panel was finished with a speech given by a foreign guest Thomas Gruenig M.S. Eng. – Managing Director at HST SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH & CO. KG, who presented intelligent ways of rainwater drainage system management. The presentation was illustrated with examples of solutions which HST implemented in large cities around the world for example in China.



The last panel of the first conference day dedicated to designing and modelling of dewatering systems.

The first speaker of this panel was Slavco Velickov Ph.D. with Bentley Systems who presented examples of how professionals from public and private storm drainage companies including the consulting ecosystem use geospatial mapping, choose appropriate elements for dewatering systems, aiming at efficient, optimal and sustainable designs and the delivery of information necessary for efficient management of dewatering systems. Surely this presentation convinced probably everybody that Bentley software for designing and modelling delivers complete 3D virtual reality.


The second speaker was Paul Davies – a visiting professor at the University of Bolton and a Ove ARUP & Partners representative. Professor Davies presented the issue of the speed of operation of hydrodynamic models in dewatering systems basing on his large knowledge and professional experience. His presentation probably refuted the myth about the possibility of using complex hydrodynamic models in order to simulate runoff from large watersheds in real time.


HOBAS System Polska was the partner of this session. On behalf of the company Marcin Tasak presented an interesting examples of installing retention basins using GRP technology.


The next interesting speech was given by Adrian Arys, who presented the experience of DS Consulting company in the area of preparing complex infrastructure projects. The presentation featured main stages of project preparation giving detailed characteristics of projects on rainwater management. The speaker also spoke about good practice as well as common mistakes and shortcomings leading to faulty project realisation or completing projects that do not meet the intended goals.


The last presentation of the panel during the first day of the conference was given by Tomasz Wilk of Arcadis company, who spoke on Challenges Connected with Stormwater Drainage Illustrated with an Example of Stormwater Management in the City of Słupsk. He used a specific example to show the problem of lack of vital information about the topology of rainwater drainage networks resulting from the lack of complete physical inventory of dewatering systems. He also presented the possibilities of practical usage of PANDa ̶ a local precipitation model in the preparation of reliable rainwater management plan in the city.


The first day of the conference was concluded by a discussion panel which focused on best practices in designing dewatering systems and finding the answer to the question: Is it worth being rainwater operator in the face of the new Water Law? The heated discussion that followed resulted in contradictory answers.

This was the expected result after a number of interesting presentations and the dynamic participation of the panel discussion moderator Maciej Mrowiec Ph.D. Eng., professor at Czestochowa University of Technology. Despite late hour and almost one-hour delay the auditorium was full. However, nobody expected that representatives of competing design and consultancy companies will participate in the discussion presenting similar views. This was a genuine opinion sharing panel without any rivalry nor competition. This is a comforting thought attesting to the fact that it is possible to integrate rainwater industry in Poland. Thus, the mission undertaken by over two years ago does not seem like a fantasy.


The first day of the conference finished with a gala dinner at the Radisson Blu hotel located at the old town in Gdańsk, where the guests were entertained by a well-known acrobatic group MiraArt.

The second day of the conference was structured around ways of getting reliable information about precipitation, blue-green infrastructure and rainwater management in the process of cities revitalisation.


Lothar Fuchs Ph.D. Eng. – Managing Director at Institut für Technisch-Wissenschaftliche Hydrologie GmbH in Hannover presented the results of using KOSTRA atlas in Germany, which is a standard device used by German engineers as a base for designing, planning and operating of dewatering and rainwater management systems.


The next speech given by the President of the Conference Paweł Licznar Ph.D. Eng., professor of Wroclaw University of Technology presented the idea of PANDa Atlas – Polish Atlas of Precipitation Intensity, which is being developed as a source of up-to-date and reliable information about design rainfall intensity, which is used to design and model dewatering and water retention systems in Poland. In his speech professor Licznar presented first results of commercial use of PANDa project in the form of design rainfall models for selected cities in Poland. Apart from presenting the idea of PANDa Atlas, the presentation put special emphasis on additional aspects of the project such as modernisation of data processing workshop, creating a new approach to collection and management of digital precipitation data bases, verifying readings taken by rain gauges and identifying subday precipitation structure. The speaker pointed out that this knowledge is necessary for example to prepare precipitation intensity model forecasts up to the year 2050 including climatic changes.


A foreign guest, professor Witold Krajewski, the Director of Iowa Flood Center presented ways of using radar data and rain gauges network data on the basis of Iowa Flood Center project. The presentation arouse much interest of the participants since the scale and advancement of the flood prevention project in the state of Iowa is really impressive. Suffice to say that the area of the state of Iowa amounts to 50% of the area of Poland. The simplicity and ease of speaking of professor Krajewski about such a complicated project surprised almost everybody.


Professor Carlo De Michele was another foreign speaker representing Polytechnic University of Milan whose presentation was about the contemporary ways of statistic preparation of design rainfall models. This presentation proved wrong those who thought that simple methods are sufficient enough to describe temporal and spatial changes in precipitation intensity. With an example of Italian Peninsular professor De Michele illustrated factors such as the proximity of the sea, atmospheric circulation and orographic effects that determine precipitation character as well as how much work is needed for better understanding of these interactions.


In the next presentation, Tobias Menzel representing OTT Hydromet company emphasized the need to use state-of-the-art instruments to register the amount of solid and liquid precipitation in order to improve the precision of the amounts of rainwater and meltwater runoffs. OTT Hydromet representative advised using the newest technologies and solutions in order to create a complete and automated precipitation monitoring system based on a network of ground gauges.


A speech given by Jens Didszun Ph.D. representing Selex company, which is a part of A Leonardo Company, complemented Tobias Menzel’s presentation. Mr. Didszun pointed out that his company has been present on the Polish market for long time introducing a complex solution for large-scale weather radars (C band radars) being POLRAD system, used by Institute of Meteorology and Water Management. In his lecture Mr. Didszun stated that monitoring and flood warning systems used in cities should use local radars, which are more precise (X band radars). He also presented examples of such solutions implemented by Selex company in a number of cities abroad.  These were very often hybrid systems that combined up-to-date ground gauges systems with radars. Maybe one day we will also have such solutions in Poland.


Another panel was devoted to blue-green infrastructure and rainwater management in the process of city revitalisation in which Radosław Łuczak – the President of Łódzka Spółka Infrastrukturalna presented both the experience and future activities of ŁSI in respect of rainwater and meltwater management programme.


Lidia Ławecka spoke on the educational and informational activities of ŁSI. Her presentation shed light on the ways of popularising the knowledge about rainwater management in the city. The presentation provided interesting examples of educational and informational activities dedicated to children as well as adults.


An interesting aspect of both presentations was the information about launching, a special website promoting activities connected with responsible rainwater management, dedicated to every city resident.


In the same panel, Kinga Krauze Ph.D. representing European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology described both finished as well as ongoing European Union projects held in Łódź. The speech suggested ways of using blue-green infrastructure and other nature-based solutions in developing multifunctional space and creating social, ecological and economic capital. Taking every presentation into consideration the participants could see that a lot is happening in the area of rainwater management in Łódź and that the direction is good.


During the last panel of the conference a representative of FPP Enviro presented the status of LIFE-Radomklima project, which aims at creating public space being more resistant to climatic changes due to the development of sample blue-green infrastructure based on ecosystem approach.


The panel finished with a presentation on the influence of rainwater on cleanliness of beaches in the Spanish city of Alicante. Víctoriano Sanz Losada, who was the speaker at this session, presented one of the solutions used (COWAMA),which allows to monitor the quality of sea water along the coast which deteriorates after intensive rainfall due to water inflow from combined sewer systems.


The second day was concluded by a discussion panel moderated by Włodzimierz Dudlik, Technical Director at Aquanet Poznań. The discussion was structured around two themes: commercial aspect of knowledge about rainfalls and the barriers in the introduction of blue-green infrastructure in Poland.


During the second day of the conference many participants had to make a difficult choice between taking part in interesing lectures and free training on using professional software for designing and modelling of dewatering systems organised by Bentley (StormCAD and CivilStorm software). 30 conference participants took part in two training sessions.


The words La sapienza è figliola della sperienzia – wisdom is the daughter of experience – first coined by Leonard da Vinci in Codex Forster and repeated by the President of Stormwater Poland 2017 conference Paweł Licznar Ph.D. Eng., professor of Wroclaw University of Technology, at the opening ceremony became the motto of the event.


Being the organising party, we hope that the conference resulted in participants sharing their knowledge and experience in the area of stormwater management both in Poland and abroad. We do hope that Stormwater Poland 2017 conference was an effective tool fulfilling the mission of web portal:


“Professional, scientific and technical exchange of ideas, experience and good practice in the area of stormwater management.”


We are happy to inform that the conference will be a recurrent event and we would like to invite you to participate in the next edition in March 2018.


We would like to invite you to visit our website STORMWATER POLAND, where you will soon be able to find photo coverage of the conference as well as materials to download.


Conference Partners:

Ecol-Unicon, Bentely Systems, OTT Hydromet, Selex, a Leonardo Company, FPP Enviro, HOBAS System Polska, Gdańskie Wody, Gdansk Water and Wastewater Infrastructure (GIWK), Łódzka Spółka Infrastrukturalna, DS. Consulting, ARUP, Arcadis, HST Systemtechnik.


Honorary Patronage:
The Ministry of Environment, National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management, “Polish Waterworks” Chamber of Commerce, National Water Management Authority, the Polish Association of Sanitary Engineers and Technicians, Voivode of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Mayor of the City of Gdańsk,


Media Patronage:
Seidel-Przywecki Publishing House, inż, Kierunek wod-kan,, teraz-ś


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