About us

The Association of the Wisłoka River Basin Communes

 

For over 20 years, our Association, which brings together 22 municipalities from the Podkarpackie and Małopolskie provinces in Southern Poland, has been committed to protecting the environment. We believe that the development of the region and the quality of life of our inhabitants are closely linked with the state of the natural environment. So far, the we have implemented projects of a total value of over 400 million PLN.

Out role and experience

We operate like a shared services centre, supporting local governments by coordinating investments, identifying funding sources, supervising project implementation and cooperating with donors and partners (including ministries, non-governmental organizations, embassies, etc.). This is possible due to a close cooperation between 22 mayors and their trust in our team, resulting from many years of experience in implementing large investment projects, as well as smaller initiatives.

So far, the projects we have carried out have resulted in:

  • construction of 700 kilometres of sewage systems,

  • 200 kilometres of water supply networks,

  • 17 wastewater treatment plants,

  • installation of solar-thermal systems on 8250 residential buildings,

  • installation of solar-thermal systems on 103 public utility buildings,

  • installation of 49 photovoltaic installations on sports facilities, schools, city offices, sewage treatment plants

  • energy upgrades of many schools and public utility buildings,

  • numerous projects in the field of ecological education, tourism and wine production.

 

Benefits

Due to an excellent cooperation between our 22 municipalities and cities, our projects have had a concrete impact on the region through coordinated actions, consistent approach to project planning and implementation, unified standards and an effective system for monitoring the effects and the sustainability of results. This approach accelerates the development of the region by increasing the impact of interventions and facilitating identifying and winning funding.

 

Our region: Wisłoka river

The Wisłoka River flows through the picturesque areas of the Low Beskids mountains in Southern Poland, including the Magura National Park. Tourists from all-around Poland and Europe are delighted by several hundred hectares of meadows and heaths, gentle mountain ridges and rock landslides.

 

Our history

In 1998, 13 municipalities from the region of the Wisłoka river basin, which covers 4,000 km2 inhabited by 600 thousand residents, jointly decided to launch the first comprehensive programme aimed at the environmental protection in the area of the basin. It was challenging due to the lack of sufficient funding sources during this period (Poland was not an EU member yet, hence municipalities did not have access to the European Union’s funding schemes). Nevertheless, the local leaders believed in the power of joint efforts under the maxim "one for all, all for one" and agreed to begin a joint project to construct, develop and modernize sewage systems and municipal wastewater treatment plants in the region.

 

Member municipalities

Initially, the Association brought together 13 communes. Currently, it has 22 members including the municipalities of Biecz, Brzostek, Brzyska, Czarna, Chorkówka, Dębica, the city ​​of Dębica, municipality of Dębowiec and Jasło, the city ​​of Jasło, municipalities of Jedlicze, Jodłowa, Kołaczyce, Krempna, Nowy Żmigród, Osiek Jasielski, Pilzno, Sękowa, Skołyszyn, Szerzyny, Tarnowiec and Żyraków, covering an area of nearly 2,000 km2, inhabited by 300,000 people.

Our projects and successes

Our first task was to prepare a comprehensive programme for the protection of the Wisłoka river basin. It was the first such a complex strategy for the region, which we implemented in line with sustainable development standards and the natural flow of the river. It became a solid basis for future projects, co-financed from development assistance programmes. In 1999, the strategy was highly rated by the Parliamentary Committee for Environmental Protection of Natural Resources and Forestry. The key to this success was an excellent cooperation of all of the beneficiaries.

After securing 3 million Euro from the European PHARE 2001 programme, we continued the partnership and built 65 kilometres of sewage system for the region. After we received further 48 million Euro from the EU Cohesion Fund for continuing the programme, an additional 600 kilometres of sanitary sewage systems, 90 kilometres of water supply network and 10 sewage treatment plants were constructed, and 4 sewage treatment plants and 2 water treatment facilities were modernized (this was one of the largest group projects in Poland).

Renewable energy

Between 2012 and 2017, we implemented a very innovative project worth over 94 million PLN, co-financed from the Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme. It resulted in installation of solar collectors on 8,250 residential houses and 103 public buildings (schools, kindergartens, cultural centres, sport facilities, nursing homes and a public hospital in Jasło), as well as of 49 photovoltaic systems on public utility buildings.

Before the project was launched, no municipalities in Poland had coordinated such complex rollout of solar energy systems on residential buildings, where residents’ co-financing was so low (25%). As a result, the project led to the installation of solar systems on over 8,000 buildings located in a relatively small area whose inhabitants used to heat their homes mainly with coal.

Thanks to the scale of the project and to a comprehensive system for monitoring the environmental effects, the initiative not only contributed to the improvement of the air quality in the region but also significantly raised the residents’ awareness and interest in renewable energy, reaching approximately 95,000 people.

When the project ended, the interest in solar energy was still so high that in 2017, after we successfully bid for additional funds from the EU-funded Regional Operational Programme, the investments were continued. As a result, by the end of 2018, over 10,500 households in the region will have reduced the use of coal and gas, replacing them with renewable energy.

Ecological education

One of our priorities has been ecological education, mainly through engaging local students and teachers. As part of a unique series of projects of 'domestic advisors', prepared in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, students advise residents on recycling, environmental protection and clean energy. Between 2012 and 2017 they visited over 12,000 families, informing them about the benefits of renewable energy. We also organize an annual campaign "Sunny Days", during which children and young people from our region through sport, art, theatre and games learn about energy efficiency and renewable energy (each year the events attract approximately 1000 participants).

International cooperation and exchange of best practice

We happily share our experiences with the implementation of projects, including investments in state-of-the-art innovative technologies, such as those installed in the comprehensively modernized Water Treatment Facility and the photovoltaic systems mounted on the Indoor Swimming Pool and on the "Green Market" in Jasło.

In 2016, together with our partners (Commune of Busko Zdrój, City and Commune of Niepołomice, Suski County and Commune of Mszana Dolna) we organized a well-attended conference on "Investments in renewable energy sources as an opportunity for sustainable development of Polish regions", attended by representatives of Marshal Offices, Provincial Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management, many local governments, Ministry of Development, Ministry of the Environment, Swiss Embassy. Under an initiative that supported the process of decentralization reforms in Ukraine, we hosted representatives of local authorities and non-governmental organisations from Ukraine. During the "European Days of Self-Government", which we organized together with FRDL Podkarpacki Center for Local Self-government, we shared our experience in coordinating cooperation between the 22 local governments and talked about the benefits of joint efforts by all member municipalities. The meetings will be continued as the participants from both countries expect further cooperation and exchange of good practices as well as consider undertaking joint projects.

Our representatives have participated in several study visits in Switzerland in order to broaden our knowledge about modern technologies of energy production from renewable sources, best practices in the field of solar energy, environmental education and municipal energy production and distribution systems. Invited by the Swiss Embassy, we also participated in the Global Energy Basel conference dedicated to the sustainable development of cities and the prospects for further development of energy production from renewable sources.

Awards

We have received many awards that distinguish us not only locally, but also nationwide. We have been named the "Leader of Polish Ecology 2011", a prize awarded by the Minister of the Environment to organizations contributing to protecting the environment, and the “Leader of Regional Development 2016”, awarded by the Polish Agency of Entrepreneurship. In 2017, we also received the 'Environmental Oscar', i.e. the main prize for Clean Energy Promoters, winning in the investment and ecological education category in recognition of the solar project, and the Ekosymbol 2017 award for special commitment to protection of the environment and to sustainable development, presented by the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection.

Contact

Chnge size

Konopnickiej 82 str.


38-200 Jasło, Poland
tel. +48 134437020
http://www.wisloka.pl
biuro@wisloka.pl