Technology transfer for climate resilient flood management in Vrbas River Basin

What is the project about?


Bosni and Herzegovina is significantly exposed to the threats of climate change, but has very limited capacity to address and adapt to its negative impacts, in particular the frequency and magnitude of floods from its major rivers which have tripled in frequency in the last decade. The negative impacts of climate change particularly affect the vulnerable groups within the basin and key sectors such as agriculture and energy (hydropower). Vrbas River Basin (VRB) is characterized by a large rural population comprised of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in BiH, including war returnees and displaced people, with high exposure to flooding and its devastating impacts. 

In May 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced its worst flooding in 150 years which resulted in 23 deaths and $2.7 Billion USD worth of damages which is 15% of GDP, and is expected to result in a 1.1 percent contraction in the economy this year, compared to the growth of 2.2 percent that had been predicted before the flood.

The Project “Technology transfer for climate resilient flood management in Vrbas River Basin” will enable the government of BiH and communities of the Vrbas basin to adapt to flood risk through the transfer of adaptation technologies for climate resilient flood management and embark on climate resilient economic activities.

What we do?

Working closely with state, entity and local governments and institutions the project will enable strategic management of flood risk through the legislative and policy framework and appropriate sectoral policies and plans that incorporate climate change considerations. In order to develop institutional and local capacities in Flood Risk Management (FRM) the project aims to:

  • Upgrade and rehabilitate of the hydrometric monitoring network,
  • Develop flood risks and flood hazard maps for the VRB,
  • Develop Flood Risk Management plan (FRM) for Vrbas River Basin (VRB),
  • Develop a flood forecasting system and early warning system,
  • Develop emergency response plans, and provide trainings in flood-specific civil protection,
  • Provide training to local communities in climate resilient FRM, and introduce community-based early warning systems,
  • Prepare and implement municipal-level flood response and preparedness plans,
  • Provide targeted training on climate-induced FRM to over 100 practitioners and decisions makers,
  • Prepare institutional capacity development plan for the long-term development of capability and capacity in Flood Risk Management (FRM),
  • Implement non-structural interventions in municipalities of the VRB,
  • Implement agro-forestation scheme,
  • Introduce financial instruments such as index-based flood insurance and credit deference schemes as a means of compensating for flood damages for agriculture.   

What have we accomplished so far?

  • Automated hydrometric monitoring network has been established in Vrbas River Basin, which makes it the first river basin in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a sufficient hydro-meteorological network coverage. Data collection and processing has been centralized and is taking place in hydro-meteorological institutes. The network is consisting of 7 hydrological, 2 meteorological and 20 rain gauges.
  • Civil protection units have been equipped with 168 radio stations and 8 digital sirens, allowing citizens and businesses alike to benefit from early warnings about upcoming flood events.
  • Climate change model for Vrbas River Basin has been developed;
  • Socio-economic survey in the Vrbas River Basin has been completed and it includes vulnerability assessment for women in flood risk areas in VRB.
  • Flood risk modelling and mapping methodology has been developed and adopted by local institutions.
  • Hydrological and hydraulic (1D and 2D) models for the whole basin have been developed for the purpose of flood mapping. They have been transferred to and are being operated by Hydro-meteorological institutes and hydraulic models are handed over to water agencies.
  • Hydrological modelling includes climate change scenarios, and it is a base for setting up of flood forecasting and early warning system which will be finalized next year.
  • Flood hazard and risk maps have been developed and handed over to water agencies and municipalities.
  • Project Spatial Data infrastructure, in line with the EU INSPIRE directive has been developed. The Vrbas GeoPortal has been established and activated on and it offers flood hazard and risk maps, flash floods sensitivity model, landslides cadaster and torrential streams cadaster, hydrometric measurements in real time and Participatory GIS (PGIS) tool for flood risk management for local level.
  • Hydrological and hydraulic models for flood forecasting have been completed.
  • Professionals in hydro-meteorological institutes and water agencies have received trainings on hydrometric monitoring, on-work training in hydrological and hydraulic modelling.
  • Geodetic experts have been involved and trained in interpretation of LiDAR survey.
  • The Water Information System (WIS) has been upgraded and it includes a platform for exchange of data among water agencies. Professionals from water agencies and relevant ministries have been receiving continuous training in water information system (data entry, analysis etc.).
  • EU Flood Directive 2007/60/EC has been transposed to BiH legislative framework.
  • The first set of non-structural measures in Vrbas River Basin has been implemented in 7 municipalities of the VRB, through 10 realized projects in total value of 700.000,00€.

Who finances it?

Donor Name

Amount contributed per year


Global Environmental Facility (GEF)

$ 357.450



$ 1.119.620



$ 1.068.970



$ 1.500.070



$ 881.990



$ 71.900




$ 5,000,000

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