Country Profile

Albania

Position and Social characteristics

Albania, officially, the Republic of Albania is a country in South East Europe, bounded by the Adriatic and Ionian Sea and Montenegro to the Northwest, Kosovo to the Northeast, North Macedonia to the East and Greece to the South and Southeast by land borders.

According to the census on 2011, the population of Albania is 2,821,977 people. Tirana is the capital city with a population of 557,422 inhabitants or nearly 20 % of the whole country population.

Albanian Climate

Geographically the Albanian Country displays varied climatic and geological, hydrogeological and morphological conditions, defined in an area of 28,748 km2. It possesses remarkable diversity with the landscape ranging from the snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps, to the hot and sunny coasts of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea on summer time. The Albania leys between 41° 19′ North, and 19° 49′ East

The climate in Albania is highly variable and diverse, owing to the differences in latitude, longitude and altitude. Albania experiences predominantly a Mediterranean and continental climate, with four distinct seasons. Defined by the Köppen classification, it accommodates five major climatic types ranging from Mediterranean and subtropical in the western half to oceanic, continental and subarctic in the eastern half of Albania.

The warmest areas of the country are located along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coasts The coldest areas are situated within the Northern and Eastern highlands. The average monthly temperature ranges between −1 °C in winter to 21.8 °C in summer.

Rainfall varies from season to season and from year to year. The country receives most of precipitation in winter months and less in summer. The average precipitation is about 1,485 millimeters. The average annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimeters and 3,000 millimeters, depending on geographical location. The North-Western and South-Eastern highlands receive the higher amount of precipitation, whilst the North-Eastern and South- Western highlands as well as the Western lowlands the smaller amount.

The Albanian Alps located in the top North of the country are considered to be among the wettest regions of Europe receiving at least 3,100 mm of rain annually.

Snowfall occurs regularly in winter in the highlands of the country, particularly on the mountains in the North and East. Alpes are the area that have more snow precipitation. Rarely snow also falls on the coastal areas in the southwest almost every winter.

Albania Land Usage

Based on the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, in Albania agricultural land accounts for 24.2% of the total area while the forestry and pasture occupy 75.8% of the area. This figure seems to be unchanged for many years now. So we can say that our country has a very low percentage of agricultural land compared to that of forests and pastures.

Based on the indicators of the soil structure, we can say that the agricultural sector in Albania is currently the most underdeveloped part of the Albanian economy and suffers from deep fragmentation of the agro land surface.

The Republic of Albania has a total area of 2,874,800ha (28.748km2), where 695,520 ha is agricultural land and 2,179,280 are a forest fund and pasture. Compared to the total percentage of total agricultural land, Fier County has the highest percentage, nearly 16% or 121,961 ha. To the total percentage of forestry and pasture fund Shkodra has the first place with a value of 13% or 280,123 ha.

In table below are shown the total land for each Albanian Counties, the surface of the land used for agriculture and the surface for forests and pastures for Shkodra, (including Vau i Dejes) and Lezha.

County Total land (in ha) Agro land (in ha) Forests and pastures (in ha)
Dibër 248503 41056 207447
Elbasan 329994 72872 257122
Lezhë 161910 34736 127174
Tiranë 165463 56609 108854
Berat 179793 52908 126885
Durrës 76442 40568 35874
Fier 189069 121961 67108
Gjirokastër 288426 45111 243315
Korçë 371032 90909 280123
Kukës 237348 25292 212056
Shkodër 356199 50625 305574
Vlorë 270621 62873 207748

The Albanian "Disaster Profile"

The geographical position of Albania makes it a disaster prone country, exposed to several natural hazards like flood, drought, heavy rainfall or snowfall, windstorms, heat waves, landslides, avalanches, forest fires, airborne sand from deserts and some epidemics, all being directly or indirectly related to hydrology, meteorology and weather conditions.

The river system poses the highest risk of flooding to the country. Floods are generally of pluvial origin and occur during the period November-March when the country receives about 80-85% of its annual precipitation. More recent flood records indicate that major flooding has occurred in the entire principal watersheds. Historically, the floods of November 1962 and January 1963 were considered to be the largest. Recorded recent floods were:

  1. the September 2002, which flooded the cities of Lezhe and Berat and their surrounding villages as well as other rural areas and agricultural land along the riverbanks of the above rivers;
  2. end of 2009 and the first days of 2010 (when most parts of Albania experienced continuous heavy rainfall and periodic snow melt in mountain areas, in the North and Northwest of the country, leading to a critical situation at the River Drini hydro-power plants and water reservoirs and downstream. From 3 to 10 January 2010 a large area of the Shkodra region was inundated, 11,400 hectares affected, including 2,649 houses under or surrounded by flood water. Eight communes/administrative units were heavily affected, including rural and national infrastructure, water pipelines, etc;
  3. January 31, 2015, reaching unprecedented water levels in the Southwest part of the country (Gjirokastra, Fier, Vlore, Berat, Elbasan). The floods affected areas along the stream of the Vjosa River, Drino River, Osumi River and Gjanica River, but the most serious situation was observed in Vlora and Fieri districts in South of Albania. The peak of the emergency occurred on February 2, considered as the date with the highest indicators of population as well as agricultural land affected by the flood. As of 3 February the water levels of Vjosa River, Drino River, Osumi River, Gjanica River already started decreasing.

Based on the international disaster database compiled by the University of Louvain under the OFDA/CRED, since 1988 the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has been maintaining an Emergency Events Database EM-DAT. EM-DAT was created with the initial support of the WHO and the Belgian Government, EM-DAT contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of over 18,000 mass disasters in the world from 1900 to present. The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies), Albania has a relatively high risk profile, mostly associated with climatic events that range from drought to floods.

Albania in the Framework of the European Flood Directive

Albania is adopting the law for floods with the “European Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks” which consist on a set of legal framework for integrated water management including flood risk management for all European member states. It builds up the change of strategy in fighting against flood risks: the traditional approach was to protect people, economic goods and agricultural land from floods (which regularly fails when extreme floods overtop the protection works). The modern approach of the directive is to cooperate with all relevant actors to “life with the floods”, to protect if possible, to adapt uses and constructions to mitigate the flood risks in respective areas and especially to prepare for being flooded in a holistic approach with all potentially affected people, organizations, administrations and businesses.

Thus, the purpose of the directive is to establish a framework for the assessment and management of flood risks, aiming at the reduction of the adverse consequences for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity associated with floods in the community. Accordingly, the directive flood risk management shall address all aspects of floods, including prevention, protection and preparedness. Consequently, the actions and measures of the flood risk management plan shall tackle all the stages of the flood risk management cycle. They shall include measures for the prevention of flooding, for the preventive protection against flooding, and for preparedness. They also shall include measures for the periods before a flooding is coming, for the time when a flood event is happening and for the period of recovery after a flood has happened.

The directive has to be implemented in coordination with other legal acts, mainly the Directive 2000/60/EC (Water Framework Directive) and requires cyclical implementation. The directive focuses on the integration of all relevant sectors, including land use management, civil protection, dam management, strategic and environmental impact assessments, nature legislation, public consultation etc. A major objective is the coordination across the river basin, including requirements for trans boundary coordination.

In general, the EU floods directive foresees three steps, which have to be implemented by all member states within the given deadlines for all river basins:

  1. Identification of potential significant flood risk areas;
  2. Flood hazard and flood risk mapping;
  3. Flood risk management planning.

Based on the Territorial reform Law No. 115/2014, date 01.09.2014, Albania is organized in 12 counties and with 61 Municipalities.

Area under project study

Based on the Territorial reform Law No. 115/2014, date 01.09.2014, Albania is organized in 12 counties and with 61 Municipalities.

Area under project study is located in the municipalities of Shkodra, Lezha and Vau i Dejës

Albanian counties and municipalities

Below is shown the map of counties in Albania and under the table indicating the municipalities included within each of county following with the maps of Shkodra and Lezha counties.

Municipalities under the project study

Municipality Local Government Units Area in km² Population as per Census 2011 Civil registration
Shkodër Ana e Malid, Bërdicë, Dajç, Guri i Zi, Postribë, Pult, Rrethinat, Shalë, Shkodër, Shosh, Velipojë 872.71 135 612 200 889
Vau i Dejës Bushat, Hajmel, Shllak, Temal, Vau i Dejës, Vig-Mnelë 499.09 30 438 48 996
Lezhë Balldren, Blinisht, Dajç, Kallmet, Lezhë, Shengjin, Shën Koll, Ungrej, Zejmen 509.1 65 633 106 245

The region of Shkodra, municipalities, Vau Dejës

The county spans 3,562 square kilometers and it consist approximately 58 % by mountains with the highest elevation of Jezerca 2,694m, 23% by hills and 19% by agriculture and residential area.

Shkodra region (county) has an area of 3562 km2, consists of 5 municipalities, Shkodra, Vau Dejës, Malësi e Madhe, Puka and Fushë Arrëz, and the Municipality of Shkodra is the center of the district. It is placed at North West part of Albania and stretches from the North Alps to the coastal lowlands. Vau I Dejes Municipality is part of this county too. It has also extends to the North of the borders with the Republic of Monte Negro with a border line 149 km, West to the Adriatic Sea, North East and East with Kukes region and on the South with Lezha region.

The mountainous and partly hilly and field reliefs dominate. The highest area is the Western part of the Alps of Albania where the highest point is Radohima.

The Drini and Buna slopes are part of the extended cross-border Drin with the neighboring countries of Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.

According to the Köppen climate classification, Shkodër experiences Mediterranean climate that is almost wet enough in July to be a humid subtropical climate, with continental influences. The average yearly temperature varies from 14.5 °C to 16.8 °C. Although, mean monthly temperature ranges between 1.4 °C to 9.8 °C in January and 19.3 °C to 32.4 °C in August. The average yearly precipitation is about 1,700 millimeters, which makes the area one of the wettest in Europe.

Shkodra Municipality has an area of 873 km 2 and is the largest municipality and district center with a population of 342'000 habitants . It is organised in 11 (Administrative Unit Shkodra, Ana Mountain, Bërdicë, Dajç, Black Stone, Postrribe, Counter, Suburbs, Shalë, Sosh Velipojë).

Shkodër City, (and Vau i Dejes as well) is situated near latitude 42° 4' N, and longitude 19 ° 31' E. Geologically, Shkodër extends strategically on the Upper Shkodra Plain between the marshlands of Lake Shkodër and the foothills of the Albanian Alps, the southernmost continuation of the Dinaric Alps. The northeast is dominated by Mount Maranaj standing at 1,576 meters (5,171 ft) above the Adriatic.

It is characterized by the coastal floodplain of the rivers Drin and Buna, the surrounding mountains - foothills of the Albanian Alps - with heights more than 1,700 m (Mali i Cukalit, East of Shkodër) and Shkodër Lake, a large inland lake which is shared between the two countries Albania and Montenegro. Buna River at the South end of the lake is the only outflow discharging to the Adriatic Sea after joining with Drin River close to the city of Shkodër. Floods are frequent during the November-March period, when the region receives about 80-85 percent of its annual precipitation (Bogdani, 2006). This potential risk area in the Shkodër region covers the communes of Ana e Malit, Bërdicë, Bushat, Dajç, Gur i Zi, Rrethina, Shkodër and Velipojë.

Shkodra is one of the most ancient cities in the Balkans and the fourth most populous city in the country, and exerts strong influences in culture, religion, arts and entertainment of Northern Albania. Geographically, the city of Shkodër sprawls across the Mbishkodra plain between the freshwater marshlands of Lake Shkodër and the foothills of the Albanian Alps. Like most of the Dinaric Alps (mountain range separating the continental Balkan Peninsula from the Adriatic Sea), the mountains are dominated by limestone and dolomite rocks. The lake, named after the city of Shkodër, is the largest lake in Southern Europe close to the Adriatic Sea. The city is “trapped” on three sides by the rivers Kir in the East, Drin in the South and Buna in the West.

Municipality of Vau Dejes is part of in the Shkodra county , 20 km distant from Shkodra and has an area of 468 km2, where 10 465 ha (about 25%) are agricultural land. The municipality of Vau - Deja is bordered to the North and West with the municipality of Shkodra, in the East with the municipality of Fushë - Arrëz, while in the South with the municipalities of Puka and Lezha.

It lies along the national road connecting Shkodra to Puka municipality. Located at the foot of mountainous woodland, it is situated at the exit of a valley between the hills of Laçi municipality, with an elevation 367 m and up to an elevation 464 m. Through this valley flows the Glina stream which divides the city's urban area into two visible parts until it meets the Gjadër River. The vegetation of these hills is dry largely because their geological composition does not favor the growth of vegetation.

The hydrographic network is represented by an artificial lake (Vau i Dejës Lake used for hydro power plant), Drin River and several streams, which the most important are the Gomsiqe brook and the Zazlli brook. All these flow from the mountain of Gomsiqe.

Vau i Dejes lake It has an area of 26 km2, while the water surface is 25 km2. Its depth ranges up to 50m. The volume of water for 75 m above sea level is 600 million m3. The average level above sea level is 75m, and the volume of usage is 220 million m3 with a length of the lake 10 km and width is 1.2 km

In the southern part of the city, the urban structure is intersected by the Glina brook, which separates the neighborhood named "Kapedani" from the rest of the city. This is a short stream that emanates from the hills to the east of the territory and flows into the Gjadër River. During the winter season, the brook's water flow increases considerable during periods of heavy rainfall and the southwestern part of the city is threatened by flooding.

Municipality of Pukë, lies in the North-Eastern part of the Shkodra and central districts of Northern Albania: from the Drin's left wing, from the Veziri Bridge and Dukagjini Field to the East and to the vicinity of the Gomsiqe valley in the West. From the geographic position itself, all the administrative units of this municipality are covered by dense snow drifts and low temperatures during the winter season. As a result of snowfall in this municipality, approximately every year 1048 families are isolated.

Municipality of Fushë Arrëz, lies in the central part of Northern Albania. It is bordered to the North with the Tropoja Municipality, East of Has and Kukës Municipality, in the South by the Rrëshen Municipality and in the West with the municipalities of Puka and Vau Dejes. Fushë Arrëz Municipality has an area of 540.42 km2. The municipality has a population of 7,505 inhabitants. The climate is characterized by cold winters and heavy snowfall, the minimum temperature ranges from -30C to -240C, while the maximum average in summer reaches plus 200C and the higher temperature reaches up to 39°C. In many areas, the snow lasts until April and at this period the area is often isolated. Cold and frosty days during winter range from 80 to 100 days, especially in remote areas of Iballa, Fierza and Qafë Mali are the most problematic areas where snowfall brings isolation of the inhabitants.

Municipality of Malësi e Madhe has 5 administrative units. It is an incredibly fragmented relief, with contrasts among the great valleys. The climate is mountainous with an average annual temperature of 7°C, rainfall of 2400 mm/year and snow thickness up to 72 cm. Boga valley is "surrounded" by three very high mountains, such as: Meadow Mountain with 2494 m altitude, Mount Krraba with 2222 m altitude and Bridash Mountain at 2128 m above sea level. The temperatures in this area during the winter season are in between – 60C to -80C degrees.

Hydrologically, the city of Shkodra is trapped on three sides by the rivers Kir in the East, Drin in the south and Buna in the west. Rising From Lake Shkodër, Buna flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming the border with Montenegro. The river joins the Drin for approximately 2 kilometers, southwest of the city. In the east, Shkodër is bordered by Kir River, which originates from the north flowing also into the Drin that surrounds Shkodër in the south.

Lake Shkodër lies in the west of the city and forms a part of its boundary of Albania and Montenegro. The lake is the largest lake in Southern Europe and an important habitat for various animal and plant species and is designated the Albanian as a Nature Reserve. In 1996, it also has been recognized as a wetland of international importance by designation under the Ramsar Convention.

Lezha County

It is located in the north-western part of Albania, in between 410 57 ' 30 " and 410 39 ' 45 "in the north, in the west and 190 32 ' 20 ". It is surrounding in the northern border with Shkodra district, northeast with Kukës district, east and southeast with Dibra district, south with Durrës district and west with Adriatic Sea, 38 km long coastline.

Lezha Municipality

The municipality of Lezha is one of the oldest Cities in Albania. The city dates back to at least 8th century BC. Time after time, this city has been occupied and ruled by Geeks, Macedonians, Roman empire changing its many times. The actual borders of the Municipality are formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Balldren, Blinisht, Dajç, Kallmet, Kolsh, Lezhë, Shëngjin, Shënkoll, Ungrej and Zejmen, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Lezhë. The total population is 65,633 (2011 census), in a total area of 509.10 m2. The population of administrative area as per the 2011 census was 15,510.

Climate of Lezha Region

For its geographically wide offshore location and generally low relief, Lezha has a moderate Mediterranean climate. The municipality of Lezha is characterized by hot and dry summers, soft and humid winter in the lower part and the city, while the wet and cold winter in the mountainous area. The average annual temperature for Lezha County is around 150 Celsius, the average of January 70 Celsius, while the July average is plus 240 Celsius. The maximum temperature in Summer time is registered in Lezha, is 390C (on 18.07.1973) and the minimum temperature registered has been -100C (on 24.01.1963). The average rainfall for Lezha is around 1700 mm per year.

Geographic and natural characteristics of flooding in the region

The entire catchment area of the basin is approximately 20,380 km2 and includes the Black Drin, the White Drin and Buna, as well as the Lakes of Shkodra, Ohrid and Prespa.

The Buna River stretches from Lake Shkodra to the Adriatic Sea and has a length of 44 km. In the last kilometers, before discharging to the Adriatic Sea, Buna River flows partially near the border between Montenegro and Albania. The Drin-Buna slope represents a very complex water system where rivers, lakes, valleys and groundwater interact. Due to the above factors, Shkodra's North-West region is affected by the major floods that have occurred regularly in recent years and can be increased due to climate change in the region.

The recent major floods of January 2010, December 2010 and March 2013 in the territory of Shkodra Region have caused major economic and environmental losses, and if no measures are taken to adequately adapt to the increased risk of flooding, it is likely to cause in addition socio-economic and health damage.

The municipalities of Shkodra, Vau Dejës, Malësi e Madhe, Fushë Arrëz and Puka for the particular physical and geographic nature have a developed hydrographic network, consisting of rivers, streams and some springs that feed on atmospheric rainfall falling from the mountainous areas.

The whole catchment area of Drini and Buna is characterized mainly by a Mediterranean climate with up to 3000 mm average annual rainfall in the mountainous area of the area. Rains traditionally fall, mainly in the period from November to March and have a wide variety of total amount and spatial distribution of rainfall in different parts of the catchment area.

The specific geographic position of the Shkodra County Region shows not only the hydrographic potential of the Shkodra Region, but also the risk that this region is threatened by the rainfall density in the fall and snowy melt seasons. Flooding, snow and frost isolation are present phenomena annually throughout the Shkodra Region, which are significantly present (snow and frost) in the mountainous areas and (floods) in the foothills of the municipalities of Shkodra , Vau Deja and Malesi e Madhe, which may last for a 4-5 month period.

According to references over the years, the uninterrupted rainfall which can last about 20 days, forces a water discharge up to 2500m3 / s, as well as very high discharges from rivers and streams Drin, Buna, Cemi, Dry Stream, Gjadri, Kiri.

The most vulnerable areas for flooding are the municipalities of Shkodra, the Guri I Zi administrative unit (Black Stone Unit), Dajç, Ana e Malit, Velipojë and Berdica.

The main embankments in risk are at Kir River in the municipality of Shkodra, Gjadër River in the Hajmel Administrative Unit and river barriers at the Dajç Administrative Unit, Velipoje, and mountain barriers in the municipalities of Puka, Fushë Arrëzi and Malësia e Madhe.

Geological, morphological, and climatic features of the area

In the area of the Lake Shkodra basin the geology and the landscape have developed into a span of time covering almost all geological eras and, therefore, they are very varied and complex but extremely interesting. The general processes are quite clear, linked in particular to the karst features in limestone environment.

The main data are provided by the Academy of Sciences (Podgorica, Tirana), by the Universities of Montenegro, Scutari and Tirana, by the Geological Research Institutes (Podgorica, Tirana), and Geozavod (Belgrade).

The Balkan Peninsula experienced an intense or genetic phase during the late Tertiary period and the beginning of the Quaternary, with the consequent formation of the Dinaric Alps. The lake basin of Shkodra, in particular, consists of a depression located South of the Dinaric Alps and oriented from North-West to South-East, parallel to the current shore of the Adriatic coast. The base is made up mainly from limestone rocks, with conglomerates, clays and silts that surround the entire perimeter of the lake both in Albania and in Montenegro.

The glaciers of the Pleistocene have eroded and reshaped the landscape and currently the Lake Scutari, together with the fertile plain of Zeta with the valley of the river of the same name, are covered by some deposits of the Tertiary, but above all by the Quaternary deposits of fluvial and glacial origin (gravel and sand), sometimes cemented in conglomerates and sandstones

In the South-West area, which extends only 10 to 15 km in width, the steep mountains of Tarabosh and Rumia separate Lake Scutari from the Adriatic Sea, with peaks reaching 1600 m.

Along the coast of the lake there are elongated islands that follow the orientation of the layer. They are all made up of Mesozoic limestone and represent the emerging mountain peaks of Rumia above the water level.

On the North and North-Eastern side of the lake lies the Zeta plain where the main rivers flow. Their deposits (delta) and the lower edge of the Piana have created a large swamp belt that is regularly flooded. The lake area is inclined to the South-East and discharges across the Buna- Bojana River into the Adriatic Sea.

The rocks of the eastern and northern territory of Vau i Dejës are characterized by formations of karst and flysch magmatic rocks (sedimentary rocks). The moderately strong rocks are mostly composed of flysch from Krasta with small amounts of siliceous clay from the volcanic- sedimentary series from the Mirdita area. Soils of these areas are not cohesively related, while the gravel brook of Gomsiqe is characterized by small stones and very little clay.

Geo-dynamic processes of this area are caused by tectonic movement along the Mirdita and Krasta-Cukal region. Landslides are common of the flysch formations. Massive landslides have been identified along the Vau i Dejës - Koman highway, especially in the area of Karma. Surface erosion is common along the Gomsiqe brook as it flows into the Vau i Dejës Lake. Rockslides have been observed in the vicinity of the Gomsiqe Bridge and some other areas.

The rock formations of the southern and western parts of the municipality may be divided into two groups by their complex rock properties and water-permeability.

The first group contains alluvial deposits and sand. These compounds have a high to medium level of water permeability.

The second group contains compact rocks with permeability ranging from divided into three groups. The first sub of carbonate rocks contains to CR2, J3 J3-CRL and featuring a high permeability. The second subgroup contains ultrabasic rocks and volcanic sedimentary featuring a non-uniform medium permeability. The third subgroup contains rocks with low to virtually no permeability and contains limestone, clay and alevrolite conglomerate.

Water relief in this area ranges from 150-300 l / hour. Underground aquifers surface from exploits in the ultra-basic flysch rocks. The southern part of the area has plentiful water containing hydrocarbons and hydrocarbons, sometimes calcium and calcium-magnesium. This water meets the hydro chemical parameters for use for drinking.

The hydrographic network is represented by an artificial lake (Vau i Dejës Lake used for hydro power plant), Drin River and several streams, which the most important are the Gomsiqe stream and the Zazlli stream. All these flow from the mountain of Gomsiqe.

Hydrological and hydraulic aspects of Lake Shkodra (Scutari)

Lake Shkodra, the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, is located on the border between Albania and the Montenegro. It constitutes a natural heritage of great value (Figure 1.4.1), above all for the community that lives around you. The reservoir looks like a subtropical water body lying on one karst surface in the outer part of the southeast of the Dinaric Alps. Its draining basin has an extension of approximately 5,200 sq. km, of which 20% is in Albania and the remaining 80% in Montenegro.

The surface of the lake's mirror varies over the year from 350 to 500 square kilometers, depending on the seasonal variation of the hydrometric level from 4.60 to 9.80 m above sea level, with an average annual quota of 6.60 m above sea level

The main tributary of the lake is the Moraca river which, with a surface of 3,200 square kilometers (entirely falling within Montenegro), contributes about 60% to the incoming volumes, with an average annual flow rate of 200 m3 / s. An important contribution to the lake's water volume is also provided by a series of karst springs (temporary and permanent) present along its coastline, as well as from sub clam water sources and underground waterways.

The area on which it lays the lake flows towards the Adriatic Sea through the only outlet, the river Buna, with an average annual flow rate of about 320 m3 / s, allows a total turnover of the invaded volume with a rate of 2 ÷ 2.5 times a year.

In the basin of Lake Scutari the climate can be classified as "Mediterranean", even it has a record higher precipitations than those that generally characterize the areas of the basin of the Mediterranean because of the mountainous system that, along the SouthWestern front, separates the lake from the Adriatic Sea. As the consequence, the precipitation on the lake is on average between 2,000 and 2,800 mm per year, with peaks of over 3,000 mm in some inland parts of the catchment area.

The complex hydrological regime of Lake Scutari implies an in-depth knowledge of the aspects of hydrological and hydraulic systems of the basin related to the lake, preliminary for a correct planning of the structural and non-structural interventions. One of the most important and interesting hydrological problems related at Lake Scutari, in fact, it concerns the instability of the flow of water current downstream of the reservoir, in correspondence of the hydraulic node constituted by the confluence of the river Drin in the river Buna, 1.5 km downstream of the lake.

The analysis of the historical evolution of the lake shows that the most serious environmental damage caused to the hydrographic system of Lake Scutari-river Buna are closely related to the waters drained from the catchment area of the Drin, whose total area is about 14,300km2. Drin river, which is formed from the union of the Black Drin and the White Drin, it is crossed crosswise along the crossing of the Dinaric Alps with dams, among which the most important are those that are constructed in the three main hydroelectric power plants of Albania (in succession: Fierzë, Koman and Vau i Dejës), realized in the mountain part of the Drin between the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s of the last century.

The laminating effect of the dams along the Drin River has certainly determined, compared to the 60s, a general reduction of water levels, both in the valley part of the same Drin and in the river Buna. The data relating to the last decade, on the other hand, indicate that, during the winter period, the Buna level is frequently higher than that recorded in the Drin, due to the morphological conformation of the Buna which proves to be incompatible with the large flows arriving from the Drin. The point in fact, the confluence of the two rivers is just over 40 km from the delta mouth discharge, with an average difference in height of about 6 m. This indicates that the average runoff speed of the Buna to the outlet in the Adriatic Sea is very low and, consequently, on the occasion of significant increases in the flow coming from the river Drin, the free flow of the waters of the Buna out of the lake is strongly hindered. This phenomenon, which occurs mainly in the period November-March concurrently with the major atmospheric inputs both of the release of large quantities of water from the Vau i Dejës hydroelectric plant, determines upstream of the union of the two rivers, phenomena of inversion of the flow of the current (regurgitation), aggravated also by the deposition of greater quantities of sediment in correspondence with the point of confluence.

Generally, the main consequences of regurgitation are:

  • the significant increase in the hydrometric level of the lake;
  • the flooding of the surrounding farmland, with consequent erosion of the same;
  • the malfunctioning of irrigation pumping stations built in riparian areas;
  • high economic damage to both farmers and inhabited rural areas.

In January and December 2010, the Region of Shkodra was hit by two floods. Particularly serious was the flood that occurred at the beginning of 2010 when, following an increasing precipitation of atmospheric precipitation, Drin's hydrometric level was rapidly increased, resulting in a considerable increase in the level in the reservoirs at the service of hydroelectric plants, which forced the Albanian authorities to carry out maneuvers Lightening. Drin's reach downstream of the Vau i Dejës power plant has increased to 2,450 m3 / s, compared to a maximum capacity of only 800 m3 / s of the Buna river, which has amplified the effect flooding in the area of the city of Shkoder. The flood caused the flooding of slightly less of 9,200 hectares of land, the damage of about 2,200 houses and the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. In particular, the flooding of part of the inhabited center of the city of Shkoder occurred and the isolation of the villages of Shiroka and Zogaj located along the lakeside coast southwestern, as well the flooding of the villages rural areas located downstream of the Drin-Buna confluence, among which the village of Berdices, where the level water has touched the 2 m of height.

The current protection measures along the Drin and Buna rivers have been designed for a time of return T = 100 years following the floods that occurred in the two-year period 1962- 1963. The comparison between the potentially floodable areas following river flooding with T = 100 years and the areas actually flooded in January 2010 shows that the structures built could normally protect the areas surrounding the hydraulic node.

However, the effects of the two floods of 2010, especially the one that occurred in January, highlighted the fragility of flood protection works, which especially in the last years 15 ÷ 20 years, have been subject to poor restoration and / or upgrading. This shows that, in the absence of constant maintenance and protective structures, the damage caused by the floods following the collapse of the structural system can be amplified. This also occurs because of the low type of security that the works created induce in the population which, considering the problem of permanently resolved floods, is induced to a continuous of the floodplains.

The repeated and severe flooding phenomena recorded in the last years in the region of Shkodra have highlighted the need to monitor the concerned coming waters to the lake in a more effective and homogeneous way, in order to structure the necessary measures to prevent and mitigate the negative effects.

(Ref. "A Lake to live" published by the Project of international cooperation RIVA-Integrated Project for the environmental requalification of the Shkodra Basin (Albania) (Balkan Framework Program Agreement)

Geologic map of Albania (SOURCE: GSA.GOV.AL, ALBANIAN GEOLOGICAL SERVICE)

Drin-Buna river basin

The riparian countries of Drini-Buna river basin are Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. The total catchment area of the basin is approximately 20,380 km2 (LWI, 2014) and it includes the Black Drin, White Drin and Buna River, as well as the Shkodër, Ohrid and Prespa lakes. The Black Drin originates from Lake Ohrid and flows up North crossing the border between Macedonia and Albania. The White Drin flows out (originates) in Kosovo. The two streams flow into the Fierzë reservoir. From there the Drin River passes the dam cascade of the three reservoirs Fierzë (73 km2), Koman (12 km2) and Vau Dejës (25 km2) operated by the Albanian Energy Corporate (KESH). The dams have been constructed from 1975 (lowest dam Vau Dejës), 1978 (highest dam Fierzë) and 1985 (Koman) (LWI, 2014). Hydropower production in the Drin River is highly important to Albania producing about 90 % of the country’s electricity. Further downstream Drin joins at the exit of Shkodër Lake, Buna River and losses its name.

The Buna River stretches from the outlet of Shkodër Lake to the Adriatic Sea and has a length of 44 km. On the last kilometers - before joining the sea - Buna River runs partly along the border between Montenegro and Albania. The Drin-Buna Lowland represents a very complex water system where rivers, lakes, wetlands and groundwater interact.

Besides many natural values, the Drin Basin is important to the economy of the country. The main users of water are energy, agriculture and livestock, water supply and sanitation, mining and industry, environment, fisheries, tourism and transport.

The whole Drin-Buna catchment is characterized by a mainly Mediterranean climate with up to more than 3,000 mm of average annual precipitation in the mountainous parts of the catchment. Rainfall occurs mainly from November to March and there is a wide variation of the total amount and the spatial dispersion of rain in the different parts of the catchment.

Due to the heavy rainfalls in the winter season on the one hand, and the limited potential discharge on the other hand, flooding is a regular natural phenomenon in the Drin-Buna Lowland. The flood intensity therefore strongly depends on the interference of rainfall pattern in the different parts of the whole catchment. Melting snow in spring is another major contributor to floods. The Drin-Buna Lowland is especially affected by flooding when all tributaries have high loads of water at the same time: Drin and Gjadër River coming from the mountains East and South East of Shkodër, Kir River coming from North East and the Buna River which is the only outflow of Shkodër Lake. Furthermore, the water balance of the Lake Shkodër (377-530 km2), shared by Albania and Montenegro, is highly influenced by the Morača and Zeta Rivers which flow from the Northern mountain range of the sub‐basin Montenegro.

The high risk of flooding in this region originates from a flow diversion of Drin River in the 19th century. Until 1848 Drin River found its way to the Adriatic Sea passing Bushat, Gramsh (here joined by Gjadër River) and then flowing into the sea near Lezhë. Caused by flood events of 1848, 1858 and 1896 the flow of Drin diverted (REC, 2010). The natural channel shift was later on supported by the construction of canals to use hydropower for mills South of Shkodër and by the partial closure of the former Drin river bed (Schwarz, 2009).

Today the Drin River mainly discharges towards Buna River. Its old bed is part of the drainage system but without high discharge potential. The existing flood protection system dates from the sixties and relies on a series of dikes and drainage channels (Mott MacDonald, 2012a). These have been constructed mainly after the catastrophic inundation of the years 1962-63. In this time huge investments have been carried out in the lower part of the rivers Drin and Buna. Although many of the technical flood protection measures have been beneficial during following flood events - like for example that one in winter 1970-71, they also triggered further expansion of settlements in river floodplains, thereby raising the potential for flood damage.

This flood prone lowland is a natural retention area but settling and cultivating here was deliberately enforced in the time of the socialist regime when Albania was strongly depending on its own production and every patch of fertile land was used for agricultural purpose. In the same time the hydropower cascade was realized in order to secure Albanians energy demand. The Drin waterflow of have been subject to strong changes after the building of huge dams in the upper course beginning of 1970ies, with the excessive gravel exploitation from the area just downstream of the main dam at Vau Dejes and just recently by the construction of the river power plant in Ashta.

The latter changed the formerly braided river into a so-called Ana branching river system thereby changing the watercourses, the sediment household and reducing the typical habitats (Schwarz, 2009).

Today, the hydraulic capacity of the actual downstream river bed and its natural flood plains allow passage of minor floods only. On the first non-diked stretch of 9.5 km after merging with Drin the river Buna has a transport capacity maximum 1,500 m3/s, (Mott MacDonald, 2012a). The lower 32 km until the Buna delta are protected by dikes and have a capacity 2,200 m3/s.

The mean annual discharge of Drin-Buna is about 680 m3/s, of which 360 m3/s come from the Drin itself and 320 m3/s, from the Buna and from Shkodra Lake, (Mott MacDonald, 2011). Medium to larger floods led to severe inundations and flood damage in the past. Furthermore, along with the natural water courses, the area has been heavily modified by humans for the purpose of reclaiming the lowland by intensive drainage and irrigation. The drainage system itself can be considered as a groundwater management system which is connected with flood management in times of high water levels. The drainage system plays an important role on water flow and pressure release and it protects land and houses in the entire area from rising ground water. Once the surface of the area is flooded hydraulically the smaller drainage channels themselves have a minor impact on the flow of the surface water. The main channels that lead towards the sea (through Murtemza channel to Viluni Lake) can significantly contribute to increase the discharge from the lowland area into the sea and thus reduce the build-up of flood water within the Trushi field.

This system is composed of dams, dikes, barriers and large drainage channels. These are mainly located along Buna River, Bushat Commune and Velipojë Commune. The most important infrastructure interventions are the dikes in Dajç Commune, the primary drainage channels (K1 channels) in Bushat, the Dike of Selmanaj in Velipojë, the Dike of Torovica, the Murtemza Channel in Velipojë and the two dikes of Cas and Viluni.

The phenomenon of sea erosion is visible alongside the sea coast of the lagoon of Viluni up to the end flow of the Buna River. Along the coast the inroad of the sea is about 2 meters especially close to the delta of the river Buna. Given this progression by the sea, the loss of the coast may be much more dramatic than the average estimates of the last 50 years, which is calculated at 500 meters. One of the factors favoring the advance of the sea toward the land and the intensification of erosion is the blockage of the alluviums that used to come from the River Drin and the construction of hydropower stations over its bed.

Data for main rivers in Shkodra region

Drini river

Drini (285 km) is the largest river in Albania and across the western Balkans. It is formed by the joining of the Black Drin with the White Drin. The Black Drin emerges from Ohrid Lake in Struga town and flows into the artificial lake of Fierza. The White Drin stems from the mountains of Zhlebit (Kosovo), traverses the Dukagjini trough and flows to Fierza Lake. The Drini River, in turn, has become a chain of artificial lakes (Fierza, Komani and Vau i Dejës), which supply three large hydro power plants. It flows into the River Buna. Drin's annual average flow reaches 352 m3 / sec, while the maximum recorded is over 5100 m3 / sec.

Originally flowed southwest from the gorge of Vau i Dejës where it joined the Gjadër River 1.5 km below, in the field of Zadrima. It passed Lezhë and deflated into the Adriatic, in the Drin Bay. It is interesting that in 1846, the Drin River formed a new branch which ran towards Shkodra and joined the Buna River. The Drin River was divided into two parts, flowing southwest towards Lezhë, and the other flowing towards Shkodra. This caused a disruption to the water system of Lake Shkodër, impacting on water levels and the flow of the Buna river, which became the river with the greatest water capacity.

Buna river

Buna (44 km) is the only river field bed. It stems from the lake of Shkodra. After joining the Drin, it flows into a very cramped bed with numerous creases. It ends in the Adriatic Sea with a huge delta. Buna's annual average flow reaches 670 m3 / s, occupying one of the first places in the northern Mediterranean. This river is partially navigable.

Kir river

Kir is a river in northern Albania that first flows south-southwest and then southwest out of the North Albanian Alps and enters a distributary of the Drin just below Shkodër.

Gjadër river

The Gjadri River is the left branch of the Drin, which extends to the west of the Puka district and to the northeast of the Lezha district. It has a length of 40.5 km, a surface of 199 km2 and an average height of 422 m. It starts from the northwestern slopes of Bjeshkët e Tërbunit. At the upper part of the flow has formed a typical valley with very narrow slopes of narrow end. From Kalivaça to Hajmel, the valley takes the look of a basin. Gjadri, after gathering the waters of the northwestern part of the Dibra and Cakri streams, turns northwest and flows to Drin

Hydrological and hydraulic aspects of lake of Shkodra

Lake Shkodra, the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, is located on the border between Albania and the Montenegro. It constitutes a natural heritage of great value (Figure 1.4.1), above all for the community that lives around you. The reservoir looks like a subtropical water body lying on one karst surface in the outer part of the southeast of the Dinaric Alps. Its draining basin has an extension of approximately 5,200 sq. km, of which 20% is in Albania and the remaining 80% in Montenegro.

The surface of the lake's liquid mirror varies over the year from 350 to 500 square kilometers, depending on the seasonal variation of the hydrometric level from 4.60 to 9.80 m above sea level, with an average annual quota of 6.60 m above sea level.

An important contribution to the lake's water volume is also provided by a series of karst springs (temporary and permanent) present along its coastline, as well as from sub lacific sources and underground waterways.

The area on which it lays the lake drains superficially towards the Adriatic Sea through the only outlet, the river Buna, with an average annual flow rate of about 320 mc / s, allows a total turnover of the invaded volume with a rate of 2 ÷ 2.5 times a year.

In the basin of Lake Scutari the climate can be classified as "Mediterranean", even if yes they record higher precipitations than those that generally characterize the areas of the basin of the Mediterranean because of the mountainous system that, along the southwestern front, separates the lake from the

Adriatic Sea: the consequence is that the precipitation on the lake is on average between 2,000 and 2,800 mm per year, with peaks of over 3,000 mm in some inland areas of the catchment area.

The complex hydrological regime of Lake Scutari implies an in-depth knowledge of the aspects hydrological and hydraulic systems of the basin related to the lake, preliminary for a correct planning of the structural and non-structural interventions. One of the most important and interesting hydrological problems related at Lake Scutari, in fact, it concerns the instability of the flow of water current downstream of the reservoir, in correspondence of the hydraulic node constituted by the confluence of the river Drin in the river Buna, 1.5 Km downstream of the reservoir .

The analysis of the historical evolution of the lake shows that the most serious environmental damage caused to the system hydrographic Lake Scutari-river Buna are closely related to the waters drained from the catchment area of the Drin, whose total area is about 14,300 square kilometers. The river, which is formed from the union of the Black Drin and the White Drin, it is crossed crosswise along the crossing of the Dinaric Alps with dams, among which the most important are those that feed the three main hydroelectric power plants of Albania (in succession: Fierzë, Koman and Vau i Dejës), realized in the mountain part of the Drin between the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s of the last century.

The laminating effect of the barriers along the Drin River has certainly determined, compared to the 60s, a general reduction of water levels, both in the valley part of the same Drin and in the river Buna. The data relating to the last decade, on the other hand, indicate that, during the winter period, the Buna level is frequently higher than that recorded in the Drin, due to the morphological conformation of the Buna which proves to be incompatible with the large flows arriving from the Drin. The point in fact, the confluence of the two rivers is just over 40 km from the mouth, with an average difference in height of about 6 m: this implies that the average runoff speed of the Buna to the outlet in the Adriatic Sea is very low and, consequently, on the occasion of significant increases in the flow coming from the river Drin, the free flow of the waters of the Buna out of the lake is strongly hindered. This phenomenon, which occurs mainly in the period November-March concurrently with the major atmospheric inputs both of the release of large quantities of water from the Vau i Dejës hydroelectric plant, determines upstream of the union of the two rivers, phenomena of inversion of the flow of the current (regurgitation), aggravated also by the deposition of greater quantities of sediment in correspondence with the point of confluence.

Generally, the main consequences of regurgitation are:

  • the significant increase in the hydrometric level of the lake;
  • the flooding of the surrounding farmland, with consequent erosion of the same;
  • the malfunctioning of irrigation pumping stations built in riparian areas;
  • high economic damage to both farmers and inhabited rural areas.

In January and December 2010, the Region of Scutari was hit by two floods. Particularly serious was the flood that occurred at the beginning of 2010 when, following a increasing precipitation of atmospheric precipitation, Drin's hydrometric level is rapidly increased, resulting in a considerable increase in the level in the reservoirs at the service of hydroelectric plants, which forced the Albanian authorities to carry out maneuvers Lightening. Drin's reach downstream of the Vau i Dejës power plant has increased to 2,450 mc / s, compared to a maximum capacity of only 800 mc / s of the Buna river, which has amplified the effect flooding in the area of the city of Shkoder. The flood caused the flooding of slightly less of 9,200 hectares of land, the damage of about 2,200 houses and the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. In particular, the flooding of part of the inhabited center of the city of Shkoder occurred and the isolation of the villages of Shiroka and Zogaj located along the lakeside coast southwestern, as well the flooding of the villages rural areas located downstream of the Drin-Buna confluence, among which the village of Berdices, where the level water has touched the 2 m of height.

The current protection measures along the Drin and Buna rivers have been designed for a time of return T = 100 years following the floods that occurred in the two-year period 1962-1963. The comparison between the potentially floodable areas following river flooding with T = 100 years and the areas actually flooded in January 2010 shows that the structures built could correctly protect the areas surrounding the hydraulic node.

The effects of the two floods of 2010, especially the one that occurred in January, instead they highlighted the fragility of flood protection works, especially in the last years 15 ÷ 20 years, they have been subject to poor restoration and / or upgrading. This shows that, in the absence of constant maintenance and protective structures, the damage caused by the floods following the collapse of the structural system can be amplified. This also occurs because of the false sense of security that the works created induce in the population which, considering the problem of permanently resolved floods, is induced to a continuous of the floodplains.

The repeated and severe flooding phenomena recorded in the last two years in the Region of Scutari have highlighted the need to monitor the related waters in a more effective and homogeneous way to the lake, in order to structure the necessary measures to prevent and mitigate the negative effects.

Ref. "A Lake to live" published by the Project of international cooperation RIVA-Integrated Project for the environmental requalification of the Shkodra Basin (Albania) (Balkan Framework Program Agreement

Floods - Concept, Types, Causes of Floods and Flood Risk Management of the concerned are of the study

The climate change effect, as it is happening in many regions of the planet Earth, is already present in Albania and requires adopting measures for mitigation and adaptation to these effects, especially in the regions of Shkodra, Vau Dejes and Lezha.

In the recent years the country has been facing flood situations in a number of districts of Albania but those posing greater risk are the sub-localities of Shkodër region and Lezha, causing not only economic but also huge social impact.

Considering the hydrological characteristics, floods in Shkodër County and its neighborhood Vau i Dejes and Lezha are highly complex. Their consequences mostly affecting the Western area of the counties are almost equally complex. Damages caused by flooding in most cases exceed any institutional and administrative limits to deal with. It requires cooperation between the bodies that are responsible for flood risk management.

A part from the climate change, there are some more serious reason on how the responsible bodies, starting from the very small organization groups as a village, administrative units, municipalities and the main government bodies, shall deal in order to reduce the damages from the flooding:

  1. Climate Change, ecosystem and environmental changes and how we can contribute to minimize that
  2. Studying and monitoring the Hydrological System in the area and their surrounds
  3. Erosion and how we can improve it
  4. Close cooperation with Hydropower Plants and Dam Management offices and engineering staff on the region to be prepared for any case of flooding
  5. Embankments on the region, their actual status and maintenance
  6. Upgrading the irrigation and Drainage Channels
  7. Minimizing the Negative Impact on the Agriculture, Community, infrastructure and business, by making them aware of the flood risk management
  8. Building on the Regional Development Concept, the main objective of this Flood Risk Management Plan to improve Flood Risk Management especially focusing on non- infrastructure measures, like warning, preparedness and spatial planning. This includes the consideration of all adequate types of measures for preparation, disaster management and recovery phases and the development of a regional flood risk management framework as well as local flood risk management plans for the region.

At the moment, Albania is working to harmonize the legislation on fulfilling the requirements of the EU Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.

The main responsible authorities in Albania dealing with floods are: Emergency Civil Protection Unit which is Under the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration, Counties and Municipalities and Local Administrative Units as well as the Ministry of Defense which is only involved in case of severe flooding in civil protection operation.

The main duty of the above institutions is to work closed together for saving humans live, especially elderly people, children and disabled, economic activities, environment, ground water quality etc.

Flood Recovery Plan Management (FRM)

Key aspects of stakeholder involvement in the development of the FRM plan are:

The regional FRM plan is guided by the principles of the EU Floods Directive; the directive requires strong stakeholder driven processes.

The FRM plan includes a catalogue of measures related to the EU’s “Types of measures”, adjusted to the regional characteristics; the catalogue is a proposal, which has to be filled in and adjusted by local actors and stakeholders.

The activities include training measures for communes with focus on risk reduction, prevention of damage and awareness rising;

The facts and figures used for planning the measures are based on the practical knowledge of the local specialists at each working group on LGU level, guided and verified at maximum possible extend by the project experts.

This report has been developed based on the actual territorial division of the area consisting of eight communes corresponding to one municipality. But, considering a recent major development of the administrative-territorial reform, in which the Albanian

Parliament adopted the Law No. 115/2014 “For the administrative-territorial division of the local government units in the Republic of Albania” (date 31.7.2014) and the respective map of 61 LGUs (www.reformaterritoriale.al), it is planned to merge the former communes into a lower number of municipalities. In this way the project area will be part of two municipalities. These municipalities will be Shkodër (merging Shkodër, Rrethina, Gur i Zi, Dajç, Ana e Malit, Berdicë, and Velipojë) and Vau Dejës (merging Bushat with 5 other existing LGUs).

However, the Regional FRM Plan and the respective Local FRM Plans have considered two scenarios for the implementation of measures:

Scenario 1: If the merge does not take place, the regional and local plans will be implemented by each participating LGU;

Scenario 2: If the merge takes place according to the reform – which itself is not going to change borders and will consider the existing LGUs and their borders as service areas under the large Municipality – the plans will be implemented by Shkodër and Vau Dejës in their sub- division areas and administrations.

These plans are done in cooperation with all entities involved in case of flooding and other natural disasters and they are based in the set of laws and government decisions (see next heading).

Readiness Emergency Plan for Shkodra Region

Following are the legal basis and other regulations in case of disaster situations which may be created from: floods, fire earthquake snow or other natural possible disasters.

Legal basis

  1. Law no. 8756, dated 26.03.2001 "On Civil Emergencies" as amended.
  2. Law no. 7978, dated 26.07.1995 "On the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania" as amended.
  3. Law no. 8766, dated 05.04.2001 "On the Fire Protection and Rescue Police" as amended.
  4. Law no. 7664, dated 21.01.1993 "On the Protection of the Environment" and Annex no. 8364, dated 07.07.1998 as amended.
  5. Instruction no. 284, dated 28.01.2000 "On the Design of the Alert and Assistance Plan for Protection of Population and Material Values in Emergency Situations as a result of the Dam and Dam Dam".
  6. Document dt. 21:01. 2001 "On Governmental Policies of the Republic of Albania On Planning and Addressing Civil Emergencies".
  7. Law no. 107/2016 dated 27.10.2016 "On the Prefect of the District".
  8. Decision no. 655, dated 18.12.2002 "On the Establishment and Functioning of the Structure of the National Civil Emergency Planning and Management System" as amended.
  9. Decision 664, dated 18.12.2002 "On the Criteria and Procedures for the Proclamation of Civil Emergency".
  10. Decision no. 654, dated 18.12.2002 "On the Determination of Tariffs for Provisional Use by State Bodies in Emergency Situations, of any Private Means".
  11. Decision no. 531, dated 01.08.2003 "On the Organization, Functioning, Duties and Responsibilities of the Civil Emergency Services".
  12. Decision no. 533, dated 01.08.2003 "On the Participation of Citizens in the Prevention and Fighting of Civil Emergencies".
  13. Orders delegated by the General Director of Civil Emergencies to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Objectives of the Readiness Plan

  1. Mobilization and improvement of human capacities to minimize the damages of snow isolation and potential floods.
  2. Improvement of protection and drainage systems.
  3. Revitalization of damaged areas.
  4. Study and monitoring of hydrological stations located in the region.
  5. Providing and guaranteeing the life of the community (people, especially the elderly, newborn children, children and persons with disabilities).
  6. Guaranteeing economic activity (functioning of institutions, businesses, farms, agricultural land, and health system).
  7. Preservation of the Environment (protected landscape, wildlife and wildlife, sensitive flora and fauna and the quality of groundwater).
  8. Preservation and Guarantee of Cultural Heritage (Centers and Institutions of Cult, etc.)

Purpose of the Readiness Plan

  1. Taking measures from all heads of institutions at the central and local level, emergency committee members, mayors for coping, manage the expected situations that may be caused by seasonal emergencies such as the isolation of areas from snowfall and possible flooding.
  2. Prevention, reduction and rehabilitation of any damage affecting the population, living things, property, cultural heritage and the environment from various natural factors (Snow, Floods etc).
  3. Providing conditions for state, public and private institutions to exercise economic activity towards the community, from transitioning from normal living and working conditions to a possible emergency situation, with as little loss as possible for the maintenance of order, the lives of people, living genes, property, cultural heritage and the environment against the effects of various natural factors.
  4. Ensuring the use of all possible human and logistical resources located in the territory of the Region in order to ensure public order, to maintain the continuity of the economy, to operate the whole chain of institutions, to locate the area in which it can Emergencies occur due to snow / flood isolation.

Goals of the Readiness Plan

  1. Scope and Possible Impact, (Territory, surface of the snow / flood insulation, at the Counties region or Municipality level).
  2. Inventory of relevant resources (Identification of financial, human and material resources that respond to disasters within the territory of the District / Municipality).
  3. Scenarios for flood effects (low and medium impact).
    1. Possible event of flooding isolation and the emergency situation arising from it, possible dangers.
    2. Possible consequences and damages.
    3. Population and infrastructure at risk (numbers, demographics, country, potential intervention needs, and vulnerable specific groups).
    4. Predicted time for snow / flood insulation.
  4. Organization, responsibilities and co-location. Determining the responsibilities of each structure and the modes of interaction (services to be included, how they will be mobilized, members of the District / Municipal level Emergency Commission and their contacts, other important contact points, list of responsibilities special at district / municipality / administrative level levels.
  5. Organizational Prevention Measures (Identification of Early Monitoring / Early Warning Mechanisms and Determination of Mutual Warning Codes).
  6. Measures for communication, exchange of information between different levels, such as: radio, telephone, email, and various media bodies, etc.).
  7. Evacuation and rescue measures.
  8. Emergency Health Measures.
  9. Measures for intervention / repairs and urgent maintenance of public infrastructure.
  10. Damage Assessment Measures.
    1. The organization and composition of local teams at county / commune level,
    2. Preparation and equipment with initial assessment forms.
  11. Measures to provide and distribute aid (warehousing, logistics, food and non-food items, distribution, monitoring, reporting.
  12. Temporary and temporary accommodation (dormitories, sports palaces and other socio- cultural facilities).
  13. Public health measures (provision and guarantee of drinking water and hygienic sanitary conditions).
  14. Measures for public order security in all four stages of the emergency.
    1. Warning, Early Warning.
    2. Prepare and intervene for transition from normal to emergency situation.
    3. Organization of rescue and evacuation operations and
    4. Return to normality.
  15. Requirements for food, infrastructure, item costs, and accounts based on pre-prepared templates.
  16. Measures to update the plan according to precipitation situation and demographics of the placed occurred
  17. Contact Lists and Responsibilities of Leaders in District and Municipal Jurisdiction, Initial Evaluation and Report Forms

Emergency System Chart in the Region

Organizational Structure of the Emergency Committee in Local Governance Unit

The Functioning of Information with Institutions

Institutions which will get the information

  1. Operational hall near the Local Police Directorate of the District Police and commissariats in the municipality.
  2. Information Group, located at the Military Base appointed. 3. Fire protection unit in the municipality.
  3. Emergency Specialists in the County and Municipalities.
  4. The head of the Administrative unit
  5. Area Police Inspectors
  6. Municipality inspectors and area surveyors at central and local level. 8. Civil Emergency Specialists at Departments in Municipalities

Work for information docuement

Upon receipt of information from the above structures, it is immediately notified:

  1. The relevant Mayor.
  2. The head of the institution having jurisdiction in the territory of the disaster.
  3. Prefect of the District, Civil Emergency Sector.

Verification of information

For the verification of information, they are put into operation:

  1. Local Police Structure Groups,
  2. The emergency specialist and fire protection district of the respective municipalities, who go to the emergency zone to verify the situation in the country,
  3. Local authorities, specialists of the area's institutions and community members of the area
  4. After the situation is verified, the information should be sent to the Operational Room of the Local Police Directorate and to the Emergency Sector Office at the Prefect's Institution and they build the schedule of receipt and distribution of information on the site.

Measures to be taken as district by the Prefect institution, duties and responsibilities of institutions in the preventive and emergency phase

In the preventive situation

  1. The Prefect's Institution should activate and update the plans for dealing with emergencies, readiness, cooperation and notification and information systems with all the municipalities and the heads of institutions that exercise activity in the territory of the Region.
  2. Systematic monitoring of the situation on the ground will be required from all municipalities and members of emergency committees.
  3. All municipalities, institutions operating in the territory of the region, has to evaluate the risk assessment in the areas of responsibility, as well as the most urgent intervention needs will be required
  4. Will require from the Central government to provide logistical support to municipalities in the most problematic areas on the basis of their requests.
  5. Monitor the meetings of the Emergency Commissions established in all the municipalities of the of the District to identify the measures to deal with the current situation created by floods or other disasters, in particular with updating of the Emergency Plans for dealing with emerging emergencies from flooding or other natural disasters across the territory of each municipality.

In an emergency situation

  1. Proposes the announcement of the emergency in the area of the disaster, organizes the establishment of the respective committees and the readiness of the Institutions to manage the expected emergency situation.
  2. Activate plans of readiness or coping according to escalating the emergency situation.
  3. Lead, interacts operational structures and those of support in rescue operations, evacuation.
  4. Supports and coordinates the work of Emergency Committee in the Municipality and the staffs established at members of institutions for managing the situation and returning to normality of the community in the disaster area.
  5. Based on the precipitation of the situation, it will require from all institutions at central level and municipalities to provide 24-hour service charts for each administration, on the basis of the order of the heads of institutions for obtaining and exchanging information with a view to monitoring and situation in each municipality and institution that exercises activity in the territory of District area.

Disaster Flood Risk Reduction Measurements

Disaster risk reduction

Albania is highly exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards. This section summarizes the overall level of vulnerability of the country to natural disaster. It then details the damages and losses to risk reduction infrastructure and the medium and long term effects of the disaster. The objectives on risk reduction is to assess the impact of the disaster to protective systems and understand how this will negatively affect

Climate change needs to be incorporated into risk assessment and risk reduction planning processes, with particular emphasis on floods. Climate change is multifaceted and cross sectorial and has major implications for disaster management in terms of operating at different scales and across different sectors. In a wider development context, climate change and disasters impact vulnerable and marginalized groups, with little coping resources, the most. Hence, disaster risk management strategies should pay special attention to these groups.

Risk Reduction and Building Back Better

Risk reduction and building back better of the systemic weaknesses identified in each sector and gives recommendation on what should be done to reduce existing risk as well as improve capacity and strengthen infrastructure so that they are more resilient to future extreme events.

The concept of building back better is very broad ranging from strengthening physical infrastructure to improving organizations and capacity. These are:

  1. Making disaster reduction part of the national agenda
  2. Empowering local communities to mitigate risks
  3. Ensuring that schools and hospitals are resilient to protect lives as well as ensurecontinuity of service after disaster
  4. Advancing integrated disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability
  5. Capacity building. Investments in these five spheres will lead to a comprehensiveresilience by ensuring that national development strategies incorporate disaster risk reduction measures.

Having a national level strategy will create the enabling environment for risk sensitive development, budget allocation and nationwide coordination. It will also give agencies clear mandates and ensure that all pre and post disaster activities are efficient. Empowerment of communities and NGO’s will enable that risks are identified easily and reliable information flows quickly to the concerned government bodies. Strengthening public buildings and especially schools and hospitals ensures the continuity of services during and after disasters. Investment in these facilities will not only curtail the potential loss due to the immediate effects of disasters but will help in the recovery efforts as well.

All rehabilitation and reconstruction work should take into account future risks. This entails understanding of potential hazards, projection of exposure growth and an assessment of future vulnerabilities. Rehabilitation can be used as an opportunity to boost resilience and ensure sustainable development that protects the environment as well. This should be complimented by investment to build technical and institutional capacity. Below are the reconstruction and recovery recommendations for each sector.

Agriculture

Disaster risk reduction strategies in the agriculture sector should address both multi-hazard risk reduction as well as adaptation to climate change. These strategies consist of four thematic pillars:

  1. Creating an enabling environment;
  2. Setting up monitoring systems
  3. Applying prevention and mitigation measures; and
  4. Instituting preparedness measures.

Key measures to reach these goals include:

Capacity Building

  1. Strengthening the capacity of Meteorological Institutes for the provision of enhanced weather information and early warning tailored to the needs of the agricultural sector;
  2. Improvement of local capacity in the use and interpretation of early warning messages and weather forecasts for enhanced disaster preparedness in the agriculture sector;
  3. Strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture in the area of post-disaster damage assessment for the agriculture, livestock, and fishery and forestry sectors.
  4. Building capacity of Ministry of Agriculture and extension services on agricultural practices, including agricultural building design, for improved disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, for piloting and dissemination through extension services;

Policy Development

  1. Developing policy recommendations that address the overall sources of risk to communities;
  2. Enhancing land use planning, social, economic and environmental development planning, including watershed/river basin management at country and regional level;
  3. Developing community-based disaster risk management plans at municipalities level;

Raising Awareness

  1. Awareness raising of the population on Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation;

Energy Production

Given the current level of exposure and vulnerability of the energy sector, because these areas are main Albanian energy producer, interventions should occur at different levels: governance (cross boundary cooperation for river management) and planning (land use planning); flood control measures at watershed level; and sector specific interventions. This section will address the latter category of resilience activities with the objective of strengthening the sector’s ability to provide continuity of service, and its speed of recovery to return to normal operations following an extreme event.

Taking into account factors such as the ageing profile of the infrastructure and assets, the governance structure of the sector, the impact of climate change and the dynamic topographic features of the country, it is recommended to build the resilience strategy around the following lines of action:

  1. Better understand future flood risks: Improve hazard data for areas near energy sector assets, and identify assets at risk
  2. Develop response options: review management practices; physical/structural options; and review of plant design parameters.
  3. Investment prioritization: conduct cost/benefit studies of options, establish a risk management strategy, and review the investment portfolio for adjustments.

Some of the activities integrated in the recovery plan are:

  1. Conducting risk assessment studies (hydrological and geological studies, exposure assessment)
  2. Revising emergency operation plans
  3. Providing on-site flood protection measures if assets cannot be relocated; where grid has been affected by landslides, building back better through rerouting;
  4. More resilient energy applications such as phasing out the 35kV voltage level, installing performance power line disconnections with remote control, etc.

Transport

The floods in area and landslides have further increased vulnerabilities in the transportation system of these regions, especially connecting rural areas and border counties.

A practical approach for proposing build back better road and rail way reconstruction requirements is to draw from lessons learned in other countries that have experienced or are exposed to similar risk and have effectively reduced the risk, or based on the previous floods happened. Completely protecting or strengthening infrastructure is not only economically prohibitive but in most cases it is also technically impractical. However, there are several measures that can effectively reduce future risks. To protect roads and railways from flooding damages some of the following can be applied:

  1. Raising embankments
  2. Widening embankments to increase their mass to resist flows
  3. Lessening the gradient of embankments to reduce damage from high velocities
  4. Constructing new embankments and protecting existing ones
  5. Building culverts where embankments cross flood plains
  6. Increasing bridge spans to make room for major rivers
  7. Providing better drainage at the top and bottom of cuttings
  8. Improving pier and abutment foundation design
  9. Improving watercourses both upstream and downstream to reduce the possibility of torrents

All improvement of flood damaged transport infrastructure should be prepared in coordination with flood control improvements as they are highly interrelated. For example, in Lezha region protecting port docks in Shengjin from future flooding risk entails improving defense systems and barriers.

To protect transportation networks from landslides there are two available options. The first is to rebuild the network in the same location by mitigating the landslide while the second is to realign the road or railway. This should be informed by detailed cost benefit analysis.

Water and Sanitation

Many aspects of the water and sanitation system proved to be resilient to the floods. For many of the affected areas, water supply was restored within one week, and water quality was brought back to potable levels within two weeks. As such, build back better possibilities in water and sanitation sector are relatively limited, and are primarily linked to better planning and preparation of emergency procedures and water sensitive spare parts.

The preventable damage suffered by water and sanitation systems comprised largely the inundation of electronic systems and machinery in pumping stations, and vehicles and other equipment owned by municipalities. Damages of this nature could be minimized by an adequate early warning system and emergency procedures in place to relocate sensitive equipment to safer areas. These can include storing of critical, water sensitive, spare part in advance in a safe place (so the replacement, and restoration of services is faster), and development of procedural manuals for case of floods, that would define roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders during flood warning and response period.

Flood Control

The current water management and governance of the river and its tributaries is not ideally suited for efficient flood protection. There is lack of sufficient flood and torrent protective structures and no sustainable, systematic, long-term management system. As a first step towards disaster risk reduction, water management systems of the Rivers and its tributaries needs to be strengthened. Measures include:

  1. Reformation of organizational/institutional forms in the field of flood management between the Entities, staring from the Central Government, Counties, Municipalities, Administrative Units, water agencies and basin management and other Institutions, leading to efficient communication with the population and activities in the flood hazard zones.
  2. Increased communication and pre-event programming (preparedness stage) between the civil protection organizations and flood management organizations.
  3. Greater and more adequate funding for water management limiting inspection, maintenance and prevention measures.
  4. Greater continuity in water management organization structures leading to loss of knowledge and experience.
  5. Increased flexibility among public institutions in the field of water management and flood management, with an emphasis on connectivity between centers of competences in the Sava river basin.
  6. Increased communication between water management and land use control agencies such as urban developments, forestry and agriculture. The management of forest lands in particular can greatly impact river flow during flooding events.
  7. Greater transparency and communication across the public institutions that are in charge of flood management in the Sava river basin countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, BIH).

In addition, a lack of reliable data is an additional major impediment to take the right action in a quick time in case of flooding. Consequently, data collection is an essential first step of reconstruction aimed at disaster risk reduction. These data and surveys will allow the government to develop a future flood resilient program. Data required includes:

  1. Surveys and identification of spots in the area that require raising or strengthening.
  2. River and canal survey to inform needed works, etc of the rivers and channel beds.
  3. Putting in place or building in main flood locations of the evaluating stations is also critical, since a few of them are on place and working.
  4. Greater emphasis should also be paid to flow prediction models, as well as to the impact of climate change on river flows. This should also be used to inform hazard mapping, and the maps should be used as the basis of land use planning.
  5. Given the frequency of flooding in the Dirn, Buna Kir, Gjader basin Rivers, effective and efficient early warning systems are essential. An improved early warning system enables better responses to be put into action quickly and improve safety to the public and civil protection staff.

Housing reconstruction

In case of flood, there might be many buildings that are not damaged but, due to the instability of the surrounding area, are highly vulnerable to subsequent landslides. Given the high cost of building a new home and of relocating to a safer area, it is natural that owners of these houses would want to go back to their houses and resume their lives. However, there are several steps that should be taken to ensure that these houses are fit for habitation. Some of these measures are:

  1. Damaged houses should not be rebuilt in the same location using the same material and design standards as before
  2. Risk assessment of the entire area where these houses are located should be carried out for all the major natural hazards
  3. Survey and vulnerability assessment of individual buildings, initially categorized as at-risk, should be carried out by engineers
  4. Decision to allow reconstruction should be informed by both technical and economic feasibility studies of rehabilitation work at an area and individual building level
  5. A combination of area wide protection investments (e.g. flood control systems) and building specific mitigation measures (e.g. using water proof materials), should be employed.
  6. Houses in extremely high risk area should not be rebuilt.
  7. Incentives should be created for residents to build back better
  8. Residents should be encouraged to use locally available and recycled construction material, especially recovered material from damaged buildings.
  9. Improved construction standard, design codes, new engineering technologies should be used to make all future construction more resilient to natural hazard
  10. Several resettlement options should be proposed and detailed cost benefit analysis should be carried out to choose best options. This is important given the high cost of resettlements.
  11. All stakeholders must be engaged for the success of resettlement programs

Communication and training

Effective communication, training and knowledge sharing will be a key for the successful execution of both reconstruction and resettlement efforts. Below are main actions that should be taken:

  1. Awareness raising campaigns should be carried out to educate communities about the risk they face from natural hazards
  2. Training on safe construction practices should be available to building industry professionals such as architects, engineers and contractors
  3. Education on effective recycling and reconstruction techniques should be available to both home owners and professionals to effectively re-use material from the damaged houses
  4. Lessons learned in different parts of the country should be shared in an organized fashion to develop a national best practice guideline that will be useful for current and as well as for future reconstruction and resettlement efforts.

Improving institutions and regulations

  1. Laws, strategies and plans on building standards should be established at a national level to ensure that all future construction are resilient
  2. Land and building license permit regulations should be enforced to ensure that no illegal buildings are constructed
  3. Plans should be developed to ensure that construction material are available at reasonable price given expected demand increase from multiple sectors after a natural disaster.

Facilities and Services

The loss of Public documents for governmental records and the destruction of these records can cripple government systems for many months after the flood disaster is a frequent and disastrous consequence of such flooding and right measurements should be taken to keep them in safe place in case of flooding. Purchasing of fire/water proof filing cabinets for safe storage of files can greatly assist in the protection of essential paper documents. Documents that are accessed less frequently, particularly those that are being archived, should be relocated from ground floor to upper floors of the municipal administration to limit future damage.

The impact of the loss of paper-based records can be avoided by digitalization files where possible. Nevertheless, aspects of government that are conducted digitally are also vulnerable in floods. The location of large electronic equipment, such as computer and data servers, in the basement floor of public buildings is currently widespread in Albania, because and the most offices are one floor building. . The practice should be changed, and this equipment should instead be located on higher floors of municipal administration offices or other location on the upper floor.

Instituting emergency protocols for the safeguarding of sensitive materials in case of disaster and providing appropriate training can also greatly help in preparing public staff for disaster events.

Livelihood and Jobs

Disaster risk reduction measures in the employment and livelihoods sectors should follow a two-pronged strategy of prevention and protection. It is recommended to carry out risk assessment for enterprises and businesses to control future risks through:

Prevention: avoiding construction of business in flood-prone areas; and

Protection: taking measures, both structural and non-structural, to reduce the likelihood and impact of floods and to protect premises and take steps to limit potential damage. These measures should include:

Strengthening infrastructure and Assets

  1. Preventing water from entering the building by installing permanent or removable barriers to seal doors, windows and other openings - such as toilets and drains. Other products include air brick covers, non-return valves on drains and pipes and flood sacks.
  2. Reducing the damage caused by water entering the building by raising electrical sockets, wiring and controls for ventilation systems, using lime-based plaster instead of gypsum and raising large equipment. Use of flood resistant materials in the construction of new buildings or extensions to existing infrastructure is also recommended.
  3. Regularly backing up computer data and store important records and information such as official archives, mortgage documents, insurance and social policy details in a safe place above flood level, preferably on an upper story of buildings.

Strengthening Capacity

Training staff for multi-hazard business continuity management including the preparation of plans of how business will respond if flooding looks likely. Such training may entail:

  1. A list of important contacts including insurance company, key customers and suppliers, flood incident line and evacuation contacts for staff
  2. A map showing locations of key equipment and where to shut off electricity and other services
  3. A plan to protect business property and minimize disruption
  4. Key procedures for employees
  5. Ensure business against flooding- Get insurance policy and an inventory of important possessions somewhere safe above flood level, such as an upper story of building. Keep photographic evidence. An independent appraisal of the potential cost of repairs and replacements can also help.
  6. Train employees on actions to take in the event of a flood or on receiving a flood warning.
  7. Train employees on procedures to follow in case of flood warnings. This includes understanding the dangers of flooding and how to evacuate the building safely.

Disaster Risk Reduction and Long Term Sustainable Development

Disaster risk reduction and long term sustainable development requires mainstreaming of disaster risk management in all development work. Future economic growth, climate change, old infrastructure, illegal buildings, whether they are houses or business buildings unplanned or in risk areas etc. will increase disaster risk unless they are considered during planning, design and implementation of all new and rehabilitation projects.

Even thought that the government has established a National Emergency Response Plan, which outlines how agencies in Albania should reorganize in order to react to disasters and they are based on governance, enabling environment, institutional framework and funding and Budgets.

Risk Mitigation Strategic Framework

The proposed disaster risk reduction framework is distributed across all counties and they are the following five strategic pillars:

  1. Risk identification and assessment;
  2. Strengthening and enhancing emergency preparedness;
  3. Institutional capacity building;
  4. Risk mitigation investments; and

Introducing catastrophe risk financing in the longer term. The underlying principles of this framework are that both loss of life and the economic impact of disasters can be reduced through advance planning and investment.

Recommendations

This section lists relevant recommendation that still need to be addressed. These recommendations will help ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority and has a strong institutional basis for implementation:

  1. To clarify roles and responsibilities increased cooperation and improved communication between all relevant sectors and agencies. To promote and support dialogue, the exchange of information and coordination among relevant agencies and institutions at all levels with the aim of fostering a unified approach towards measurements that should be taken, is a prerequisite for an effective and success dealing with flooding. This also includes the promotion of community participation in DRR through the adoption of community-specific policies, the promotion of networking, the strategic management of volunteer resources, the attribution of roles and responsibilities and the delegation and provision of the necessary authority and resources.
  2. To initiate efficient financial planning to ensure that in these cases we will have the budget allocation. There is a need to allocate resources centrally as well as locally for the development and implementation of disaster risk management policies, programs, laws and regulations on all relevant sectors and authorities and at all administrative levels with budgets based on clearly prioritized actions.

Conclusions

Working on this project made us realize the complexity of the issues behind flood risk, flood management and flood measurements, dam management, climate change to hydrology, and the amount of research and number of stakeholders required to address these issues. This led us to note and rising up all the issues which occurred in those cases of natural disasters and the impact that this has to the life of communities and finding the solution to overcome such situations.

We have to learn from the experiences and to develop new ways to avoid or minimize the flood risk and other disasters damages.

It is proven that best results cannot be achieved immediately or with only one measure, but it is a complex process which required all institutions and human contribution.

Throughout the project report we hope that this study will evaluate how the flood management measurements would be effective and sustainable on helping in the disaster situations.

Our work and insights can help provide more well-rounded judgment to the issue.