Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Natural/seminatural water bodies and hydrographic network

European funds for flood protection measures in Smolyan

A short description of the NSB

In response to flooding causing damage in Smolyan’s Ustovo neighbourhood in 2005, the city implemented a number of flood protection measures consisting of two main construction works: 1) expansion and cleaning of the riverbed of the Cherna River to have a higher capacity for dealing with high amounts of water; 2) reconstruction and upgrading of the existing retaining walls and construction of new walls with reinforced concrete railings and parapets on the left and right bank of the river. These works are carried out through nine sub-projects. In total 240 metres of new flood walls were built, and over 430 metres of existing walls were reinforced. The new Municipal Development Plan envisages construction of additional facilities to prevent flooding, including cleaning the riverbeds of vegetation and sediments, reconstruction of the two municipal dams (Kiranov dol and Laga) and forestation of adjacent land. All the constructions aimed at minimizing the chance on future floods thereby avoiding damage and possible negative impacts on human health and the environment. The cost of about €480.000 was mainly derived from funding by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

NBS Implementation context
Location Smolyan (Bulgaria)
Status (from - to) Project delivered (June 2011 _ June 2013)
NBS Scale Object (rivers) Neighbourhood City
NBS Impacts scale Object (building, etc.) Neighbourhood City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center, etc.)
NBS Typology

NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 0
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 0
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
NBS Stakeholders & Governance

The Mayor and the municipal experts held many meetings during the project where they thoroughly explained to residents the need for the flood protection measures and their positive effect. Few people were directly affected by the construction works. There were some issues with the residents as, for instance, illegal buildings on the construction site, like barns and gardens that had to be demolished before work could start. However, they could be solved within the legislative framework and did not result in protests or any major negative reactions.

Initial actors (Leaders) Governments Local government/municipality (Smolyan Municipality)
Involved actors Governments Local government/municipality (Smolyan Municipality),Community Citizens (residents of SmolyanÍs Ustovo neighbourhood)
Ecological scale Local scale green area
Governance model CLUSTER 1: Traditional public administration Participatory planning & budgeting
NBS Financial aspects

The costs of the flood protection measures combined surmounted to 933.438 Bulgarian Lev (€477.259). A small part, 5% of the total sum (€24.010) was provided from the municipal budget of Smolyan. The majority of funding (€453.249) originated from the EU through the Operational Programme “Regional Development 2007 – 2013”. This programme was approved by the European Commission in 2007 and applied to the whole territory of Bulgaria for the period 2007-2013 with main objectives to reduce the socio-economic differences between Bulgaria and other EU Member States; to make living and working conditions in Bulgaria more attractive; to develop tourism potential and to stimulate investments in smaller municipalities. The Operational Programme fell under the framework laid out for Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objectives (co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)) and had a total budget of around €1.6 billion.

Global (estimated) cost of the project 200k€- 1M€ (€477.259)
Financing mechanism CLUSTER 1: Public financing ERDF - European Regional Development Fund
NBS Business Models Archetype
Technological Non applicable
Social Non applicable
Organisational Non applicable
NBS Success and limiting factors
Process enablers
Knowledge Information accessibility and sharing Knowledge platforms
Governance Co-creation and participation Involvement of urban government
Economy Government support Removal of administrative barriers
Process inibitors
Knowledge -
Governance -
Economy -
IM Keywords
  • Participatory planning & budgeting

  • Local scale green area

  • ERDF - European Regional Development Fund