The "My Water" program sponsored by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFEPWM), the second edition of which has just started, supports the so-called small retention, i.e. local accumulation of water in small reservoirs. It was created on the model of previous programs in the field of energy ("My Electricity" and "Clean Air") as a response to the growing problem of water shortage each year. Previously, such common, small, local reservoirs generally available and provided to the inhabitants of single-family houses co-financing to encourage investment did not exist. The "My Water" program is supposed to fill this gap.

This is an important initiative because collecting rainwater or water from melts is one of the basic methods to prepare for water shortages in the period of drought. Climate change causes the fact that more and more areas in Poland are prone to drought. In addition, the water deficit affects the inhabitants, not only of rural areas, more and more often.

Investments to save greenery

How does this government support work in practice? As part of the program, subsidies up to PLN 5,000 are granted to cover up to 80% of investment costs for the purchase, assembly, construction, and commissioning of house installations that allow for the retention and management of rainwater and meltwater. This can involve the installations collecting water from impermeable surfaces, i.e. roofs, pavements, driveways (e.g. catchers, inlets, drainage pipes without guttering), underground and above-ground tanks, "ponds", installations for water retention in the ground (e.g. surface unsealing) impermeable, absorbent wells, drainage, rain gardens - without planting costs) and on roofs ("green roofs" - drainage layer, without planting costs). All installations enabling the management of rainwater, such as pumps, filters, sprinklers, etc., are eligible for support under the program. The minimum value of the eligible scope of the project covered by support is PLN 2,000, and the minimum total capacity of the tank, or tanks, which are eligible costs, is 2 cubic meters.

Who can apply for support? The "My Water" program supports only investments in single-family houses, as defined in the construction law. The final beneficiaries cover natural persons who are owners or co-owners of real estate on which a single-family residential building is located (it can be a detached house, a semi-detached house, or a terraced building). Furthermore, co-financing covers real estate owners on which construction of the house has just started or is planned to be built, with the proviso that the building must be put into use in accordance with the law before the documents are submitted for payment. The goal of the program is to build micro-installations that keep water "where it fell" - any that prevents water from draining away from the real estate is eligible for support. It is assumed that the average installation will keep up to 2 thousand cubic meters of water, which does not require separate permits.
The program is intended to help limit flooding in the event of heavy rainfall, as well. The installation can collect excess water without burdening the storm sewage system. Collected rainwater or meltwater is perfect, for example, for watering plants. By replacing the tap water, it helps to reduce household water bills.  

The first paths are already cleared!

The first edition of the "My Water" program, launched on July 1, 2020, was very popular. The PLN 100 million budget was exhausted in two months (eventually it was increased to over PLN 114 million). Applications were submitted for 23 705 home micro-installations. It was most utilised in the following voivodships: Śląskie (2056), Małopolskie (1623), Mazowieckie (1369) and Wielkopolskie (1272). According to the estimates of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the submitted projects can cause the retention of up to 1.2 million cubic meters of water per year, which is enough to fill approximately 350 Olympic swimming pools.

Responding to social demand, on March 22, 2021, on World Water Day, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management launched the second edition of the program, also with a budget of PLN 100 million. Applications should be submitted on the websites of the Voivodeship Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management via the beneficiary's portal. They must also be delivered to the office in paper form or electronically via the Public Administration Services Platform (ePUAP). The grant is paid out up to 12 months from the decision to grant funds by the NFEPWA. According to Artur Lorkowski, the vice-president of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, in the first week of the programme, almost 400 applications were submitted for the amount of almost PLN 2 million.

Author: TOGETAIR editorial team based on the materials of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management