On June 28, 2018, The World Bank (WB) and the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) have agreed to a Reimbursable Advisory Service (RAS) contract for the delivery of an Advisory Program. The Government of Bulgaria (GoB) / Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has requested the Bank’s support in the elaboration of the next generation of the country’s River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) required by the EU Water Framework Directive, and the Flood Risks Management Plans (FRMPs) required by the EU Floods Directive. In both cases, four plans must be prepared (one for each of the country’s four River Basins) to cover the 2022-2027 period. This will be the third generation of RBMPs and second generation of FRMPs. The plans essentially result in a Program of (structural and non-structural) Measures that are expected to be implemented during the plans’ validity period. Among others, the plans will significantly influence the country’s investments programs in wastewater collection and treatment, in floods control structures and in river restoration for the next EU programming period and define the country’s ability to ensure a water-secure development path for its people, its economy and its environment.
The specific objective was to support the WB and the MoEW to address the challenges pertaining to the preparation of the 3rd cycle of RBMP. The GoB had made tangible improvement between the first and the second cycle of RBMPs, nevertheless, gaps were still remaining in several fields: monitoring, water bodies classification, inter-calibration, biological status, chemical status, hydromorphology etc. These gaps were existing, sometimes in a different manner, in each of the 4 River Basin Directorates (RBD) in charge of preparing the RBMPs. A gap analysis was undertaken to precisely identify and quantify these gaps and to propose a way to fill them partially or fully. The gap analysis was conducted by using three main sources of information:
- Gaps identified by RBDs and MoEW
- Gaps identified by the Commission evaluation report; and
- Gaps identified thanks by experts in the country.