Mayor calls for comprehensive repairs of Mura River levee

Črenšovci, 11 August - The Water Agency plans to start repair work next week on the levee on the Mura River that was broken during storms last weekend, said Vera Markoja, mayor of the Črenšovci municipality where the levee developed a ten-metre break. She called for repair work on all levees on the Mura and Minister Uroš Brežan asserted the funds are available.

Dolnja Bistrica
The swollen Mura River.
Photo: Jure Zauneker/Vestnik
File photo

"We are currently preparing the project documentation, and the funds earmarked for the maintenance works on the levees have been set aside in the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

"The plan is to fix 40 kilometres of levees along the Mura by 2026, but the drafting of the documentation is getting complicated," the Črenšovci mayor told STA today.

She pointed to some institutions that need to give their consent. The Nature Conservation Institute proposes that the route is changed in some areas due to the habitats along the river of for example white willow and some other plants and animals, the mayor said.

The municipality asked the government to stick to the original route, which had been confirmed by the Water Agency. "After all we believe that a human life is more valuable, as we believe plants can be rearranged also after the levees are repaired," the mayor say.

In the Črenšovci municipality, work is planned on 13 kilometres of levees to create a four-metre crown and a maintenance path along the levee. "The importance of this path became clear as the levee broke and people risked their lives transporting bags with excavators," Markoja said.

Natural Resources and Spatial Planning Minister Uroš Brežan said that the recent devastating events were an encouragement to continue the flood control project using levees.

"We have the funds available for this as part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, we have a team at the Water Agency that is working on it both in Ljubljana and locally," he said in today's press statement.

Given that the funding is envisaged within the Recovery and Resilience Plan, the work is expected to be completed within its framework by mid-2026. Emergency repair work is already being conducted.

Further projects should be prepared by the end of November, after which a contractor will be sought and work will start.

Levees like any other building are complex projects, Brežan said. "On the one hand, farmland is protected, on the other hand, nature is protected. I know that representatives of the ministry, the Nature Conservation Institute, the Water Agency and farmers have already been looking for common solutions.

"But what we saw in early August will certainly be an encouragement for all of us to come to a compromise solution," he said.

Several people had to be evacuated on Saturday evening as the levee broke and an army helicopter and a helicopter from Croatia came to the rescue. According the mayor, the levee was last renovated in the 1970s and the plan is to raise it by a metre and half.

© STA, 2023