PWMC Vode Vojvodine has signed a cross-border cooperation agreement within IPA Croatia–Serbia 2014–2020 on Feasibility study of transboundary natural forest retention areas of Spačva–Morović forests under the title Integrated Cross-Border Monitoring and Management Systems for Flood Risks, Environmental and Biodiversity Protection and Forestry Through Transboundary Forest Retentions and Other Measures (FORRET).

Total project value is 1,626,842.24 EUR. One part (85%) of the funding comes from the IPA programme budget in the amount of 1,400,000 EUR while the rest of the funds (15%) of approximately 250,000 EUR are provided by four project partners: Croatian Waters, Public Water Management Company Vode Vojvodine, Public Company Vojvodinašume and WWF Adria – World Wide Fund for Nature.

With ensured co-financing, this program allows for a unique opportunity for joint project implementation by cross-border cooperation of the competent water management organizations and other stakeholders.

Rising climate changes and increasing flood risk urge the authorities to find long-term solutions. Key water management organizations from Croatia and Serbia conducted flood event analysis after great damages caused by the catastrophic floods of the Sava River in May 2014. Based on the analysis results, it was concluded that the risk could be mitigated by conveying the high waters into natural cross-border floodplains (retentions) of Spačva–Morović forests.

The aim of FORRET project is to improve flood risk management system by establishing joint monitoring and risk management measures. It would reduce possibilities of flood occurrence, ensure high quality forest management and improve environmental conditions and preservation of biodiversity in this internationally important and unique area.

Aforementioned objectives can be achieved only by cross-border cooperation, intersectoral and multidisciplinary approach as well as including all relevant institutions, participants and target groups. Joint monitoring and flood risk management measures of international river basins such as this section of the Sava River ought to be implemented in a coordinated manner in both countries by cross-border cooperation and participation of all relevant institutions and wider public — which is one of key challenges of Project implementation.

The Sava River and its natural floodplains of Spačva–Morović forests possess unique and rich biodiversity. There are numerous significant species inhabiting the well-preserved oak forests and swamps. Observing the needs of all parties, including water regime improvement and optimal forest resource management, will contribute to natural ecosystem improvement of the area and simultaneously provide significant contribution to development of both local and national economy.