Flood Risks in the Pricop-Huta-Certeze and Upper Tisa Nature 2000 Protected Areas (PHCTS)

Functioning as a triple partnership between the Babeș-Bolyai Faculty of Geography from Cluj-Napoca, acting as project promoter, the Heidenroslein Association from Baia Mare, as national partner, and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research of Trondheim, Norway, as the international partner,  the RO02-0013 – Integrated Study on the Contribution of Ecosystems in the Pricop-Huta-Certeze and Upper Tisa Natura 2000 Protected Areas to the Sustainable Development of Local Communities (SIENPHCTS) is financed through a grant provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the RO02 Program – „Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”, Project Call no. 1, operated by the Ministry of the Environment, Water and Forests.

The present project will be implemented in the Natura 2000 sites mentioned above which correspond to the following towns and villages: Certeze and Bixad – Satu Mare County and Bistra, Bârsana, Rona de Jos, Rona de Sus, Bocicoiu Mare, Sighetu-Marmaţiei, Sarasău, Câmpulung la Tisa, Săpânţa, Remeţi – Maramureş County (http://geografie.ubbcluj.ro/pages/sienphcts/?page_id=4&lang=ro).

The main goals of this project are to improve the state of ecosystems and to raise awareness, improve knowledge and information levels among a wide audience with regards to the benefits provided by ecosystem services and the importance of maintaining them in good condition.

Specific objectives associated with actions envisaged by the project are: the implementation of solutions for exploiting the benefits provided by the two Natura 2000 sites under investigation; the   integration of various contributions offered by ecosystems in the economic development and well-being of human communities; encouraging actions aimed at preserving habitats and important species; the consolidation of sustainable use with regards to the existing natural and cultural patrimony; raising the awareness of local communities; improving the attitudes espoused by local  communities and decision factors, while at the same time increasing the level of knowledge on the value of ecosystems; raising the awareness levels of the target group; educating the general public on the subjects of biodiversity and ecosystems.

References for the frequency of maximum discharge

In addition to the other objectives of this project, the study of hydrological risks to the natural and human environments that are induced by a maximum runoff with a 1% probability is an undisputed requirement since the Upper Tisa protected area (with the exception of the Ronişoara Forest) overlaps almost perfectly the flood-risk area of the river (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. Flood risk bands with a 1% probability that overlap human settlements and the Pricop – Huta-Certeze and Upper Tisa Natura 2000 protected areas (composite image processed on the basis of the Flood Directive issued by the ,,Apele Române” National Water Management Agency)

Concerning the frequency of periods when maximum runoff occurs, analyzed for the 1968 – 2005 interval, we can note the significant statistical weight of high waters, and even more important for our study, of flash floods. Thus, on the rivers that form the object of our study, high waters are most frequent during spring, with an average value of 53%, followed by summer (between 11 and 26%), winter (14%) and autumn (12 %) (Cocuţ, 2008).

The monthly frequency of flash floods registers a principal maximum in March for Vişeu River (16-22 % of the total number of selected floods), as well as secondary maximums in April and May, whereas for the right hand tributaries of Vişeu (Ţâşla, Vaser, Ruscova), the principal maximum occurs in April (18-24 %), and secondary maximums are recorded in March and May (Cocuţ, 2008).

The Iza watershed is remarkable through its principal maximum for the frequency of floods that occurs in March for both the main course and for its left hand tributaries (14-20% of the selected cases), and its secondary maximums that correspond to the months of April and June.

In the study area, the composite map that we created reveals that significant areas become immersed in water during 1% probability flows. In general, these zones are located in the flood plain of individual constituent basins, in confluence areas or in places where the valley widens (Fig. 1). Therefore, the Tisa-Iza confluence (near the municipality of Sighetu-Marmaţiei and the village of Valea Cufundosă), the Tisa-Vişeu confluence (in the proximity of Valea Vişeului) and several small basins situated upstream of gorges (Petrova) can experience floods with waters reaching a depth of one meter. The gorge sectors themselves do not present significant flood risk areas due to the depth of the minor riverbed and the harder rocks that make up the valleys.

With regards to the statistics that were derived from GIS modelling, it is possible to see that out of a total area of 94.75 km2 representing the extent of the protected areas (including here the Huta-Certeze and Pădurea Ronişoara zones), only 26,60 % of land is vulnerable to flooding, whereas 73,40 % remains above water.

Nevertheless, if we restrict our reference area to the Upper Tisa watershed alone, the situation is drastically different. Thus, out of its 38.73 square kilometres, 65 % are prone to flooding and just 35 % shall remain above water in case of a flow with a 1% probability (Fig. 1).

Flood risk in the protected areas

Flood risk in the region is higher for areas located at the confluence of rivers or in places where valleys grow wider, and is less significant in protected areas (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Risk of floods with a 1% probability corresponding to human settlements and Natura 2000 Pricop – Huta-Certeze and Upper Tisa protected areas (composite image processed on the basis of the Flood Directive issued by the ,,Apele Române” National Water Management Agency)

In the Upper Tisa Protected Area, high risks of flooding occur north of Lunca la Tisa village, to the north-east of Bocicoiu Mare village, north of Sighetu-Marmaţiei municipality, north of Valea Hotarului, to the east of Sarasău, north of Câmpulung la Tisa and also north of Remeţi.

Medium risks are recorded north of Lunca la Tisa, to the north of Sighetu-Marmaţiei municipality, in the northern part of Valea Hotarului, north east of Sarasău and Câmpulung la Tisa and to the north of Remeţi and Piatra villages.

Upper Tisa is also affected by lower flood risks in the area of Bocicoiu Mare, between the villages of Crăciuneşti and Tisa, Valea Hotarului and Săpânţa or Remeţi and Piatra.

The other protected areas (Pricop – Huta-Certeze and Pădurea Ronişoara) do not suffer from flood risks caused by maximum flows with a 1% probability.

Meanwhile, when it comes to administrative units, flood risks affecting human and natural environments are particularly elevated in the localities of Valea Vişeului, Petrova (on Vişeu River), Sighetu-Marmaţiei (its southern part), Valea Cufundoasă, Lazu Baciului, Năneşti, Bârsana (on Iza River), Sighetu-Marmaţiei (its south eastern part), Rona de Jos, Rona de Sus (on Rona River), Certeze (on Valea Albă River), Huta-Certeze, Moişeni (on Valea Rea River).

Selected bibliography

  1. Cocuţ, M. (2008) Caracteristicile scurgerii apei din Depresiunea Maramureşului şi zona montană limitrofă, Teză de Doctorat manuscris, Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Facultatea de Geografie, Cluj-Napoca, 115 p.
  2. * * * (2007-  ) Directiva 2007/60/CE privind evaluarea şi managementul riscului la inundaţii – Hărți de hazard și de risc la inundații, Administraţia Naţională ,,Apele Române”, http://www.rowater.ro/Directiva%20Inundaii/Directiva%20Inunda%C8%9Bii.aspxhttp://gis2.rowater.ro:8989/flood/ .
  3. * * * (2015) Planul pentru prevenirea, protecţia şi diminuarea efectelor inundaţiilor în Bazinul hidrografic Someş-Tisa, S.C. EPMC Consulting S.R.L. Cluj-Napoca şi S.C. Compania de Consultanţă şi Asistenţă Tehnică S.R.L.  Bucureşti.
  4. * * * (2015) Limitele GIS ale ariilor naturale protejate http://www.mmediu.ro/articol/date-gis/434
  5. * * * (2016) Limitele siturilor de importanţă comunitară în format GIS, http://www.anpm.ro/natura-2000/-/asset_publisher/M5dL2rWIKHI6/content/limitele_siturilor_de_importan%C5%A3%C4%83_comunitar%C4%83__%C3%AEn_format_gis
  6. * * * (2016) Managementul Riscului la Inundaţii, Ministerul Mediului şi Schimbărilor Climatice http://www.mmediu.ro/beta/domenii/managementul-apelor-2/managementul-riscului-la-inundatii/ 

Article written by Associate Professor Dr. Gheorghe ŞERBAN (Land analyst) and translated by Mihail Andreas Mitoseriu.

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