Water 2005

Water 2005 has demonstrated high level of professional skills and commitment of all participants

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City of Prague - News Release

Prague City Hall - Public Relations Department

Water 2005 has demonstrated high level of professional skills and commitment of all participants

This noon has marked the official climax of Water 2005 tactical drill. Václav Šimek, deputy director of non-professional Fire Fighters, handed over to Pavel Bém, Mayor of Prague, the "completed works" the scope of which was subsequently inspected from the deck of Hamburg steamboat.

Hundreds of metres of mobile barriers on both sides of Vltava river - outcome of work of twenty four units of non-professional Fire Fighters - were inspected by the Mayor Bém,  Jan Bürgermeister, deputy mayor for regional development, Petr Hulinský, deputy mayor for finances, other representatives of the City and the City Hall as well as directors of organisations taking part in the system of flood protection of our capital city,  such as the Metropolitan Police, Prague medical rescue corps, Povodí Vltavy (Vltava river basin authority), Vodohospodářský rozvoj a výstavba (Water development and construction), Technická správa komunikací (Technical administration of communications), Pražské vodovody a kanalizace (Prague water authority),  Czech Police, Hygienická stanice hl. m. Prahy (Hygienic station of the City of Prague) and others. The aim of the drill was not only to test the flood protection system as a whole but also to bring closer to reality the operational manuals for the mobile flood barriers construction and check how the city day-to-day life will be impacted by the movement of such a great number of heavy machines and transportation of hundreds of tons of material. The drill also tested the co-operation of all city crisis management corpses and it further checked all kinds of extraordinary situations; within the framework of the drill, virtual evacuation of Na Františku hospital was simulated.

"We have completed the most extensive exercise in history of our beautiful city and according to experts, the most extensive event of its kind ever organised in Europe. Satisfaction is my first impression," said Mayor Bém when evaluating the drill and continued: "Voluntary Fire Fighters have done a highly professional job: they not only have a comprehensive knowledge of all specifications of the mobile barrier but they are also able to improvise, which is important, since in a flood risk situation, every minute counts. From the moment when the danger is signalled, nature only allows us maximally 48 hours to implement comprehensive flood protection measures. The drill has been extraordinarily successful since within 11 hours, all elements of the flood protection system we dispose of at present were installed.”

In order to carry out detailed evaluation of the whole exercise, an analysis of hundreds of hours of videotape as well as of a great volume of technical documentation will be necessary, still, it already seems plausible that the time for flood barrier setup defined in operational manuals will be reduced. The beginning of disassembly of the barriers is planned at 18.00 tonight and once again, there exists a realistic possibility that the whole drill will be completed earlier than on Saturday at 12.00, as originally planned.

Press tent set up at Kampa in the park opposite Werich villa.

In Prague, 23 July 2005

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