Poland glossary








dam operator




May 1999



Section 1
Could you say a few words introducing yourself, please?
My name is Edward Ulanski. I’ve been here... In Miedzygórze I’ve been living for nineteen years, I am the dam operator, I’ve been in this job for eight... nineteen years now. I like it here very much, the climate is very good. I left... leaving Wroclaw I didn’t feel too good in general, and at work and things, and here I came to Miedzygórze, and since then I’ve been feeling very well...

What did you use to do before you came over to Miedzygórze?
My previous job ... I worked ... I mean ... in Wroclaw in gas cookers in “Wrozamet” (factory) and the job was on an hour ... for hours, and here, my working time is not determined, so I can regulate it myself. If there is a flood, you have to work day and night, and things, other than that, you just come, check things and maintain the whole dam. My duties involve keeping the dam ready non-stop, so when there’s a flood it is ready, and at any moment all the valves and all, and communication there to be with the world, with Walbrzych with Wroclaw, it has to effective.

Do you like this job better than the previous one?
Because of that I like it very much, because of the weather and the climate. There, I had to work inside ... inside a closed hall, it was hot in July and August, now here I am outside almost all the time. Well, it is sometimes hard in the winter, because of the ice and you have to break it, you know, and all that, but all in all it is a very good job working outside.

Yes, is this job a hard one, or...?
Sometimes it’s poss... it can be quite hard, because during the flood you couldn’t go to sleep for a couple of nights. Though we did get help from our colleagues from the Bystrzy... Miedzygórze fire brigade, and also the GOPR (Mountain Lifeguard Volunteers) did something in way of helping, the army a bit, so it was all a joint effort, because we didn’t have any communication...

Now, what can you tell me about the dam itself?
Perhaps the dam, as such it was designed by the Germans after the first flood ... because there was a huge flood in 1903 and after the flood a programme was launched by the Germans, here in Lower Silesia (region) and this dam (Jesus!) was constructed as a part of it, eighteen such dams were constructed in Lower Silesia. This dam was built in 1905, and in 1908 it was completed. The previous dam was in eighteen sixty-something ... eight or ... never mind, it was shorter and there was high water and it broke the dam. And now the Germans were ... improved it, built a longer one, taller and wider, so that during the flood it well ... worked.
Section 2
You mean ... This dam was destroyed during the war, wasn’t it?

Wasn’t it?
It was during the dam ... it wasn’t destroyed and it worked, only before the war, the first war ... after the first world war, the water ... the valves ... the two bottom valves were working, and the middle one wasn’t and the upper bridge wasn’t here either, but after the flood in ‘32 the Germans decided that there must be another valve, because there was ... because there was a outlet, but no regulation, only it was empty. And later they built this bridge and this middle valve...

How did it begin, all that with the flood?
It started very nicely ... on a Sunday. I wake up at eight o’clock, wanting to get dressed and go to church with my kids, and I look, there is quite a lot of water in the river, so I went to the dam to see to the water. It was eight-sixty then. Close to the warning level. I didn’t go to church then. I started making phone calls to Walbrzych, to the Meteo and Water Institute in Klodzko, and all was set in motion, at home, people already started ... because it was raining non-stop, it started raining really heavily, I started calling all our units to inform them: Walbrzych, Wroclaw, Anti-Flood Committee in Bystrzyca Klodzka, Mayor Krynicki. He was already arranging for me ... an hour passed and the fire brigade from Miedzygórze arrived, sent here by the Mayor. So we started shifts on the dam. We started warning everyone here, in the housing estate, in the village, but people give much attention to our ... erm...

How high is the warning level and the flood level?
The warning level starts from 9 metres, then the alarm level from 12 metres. When there is the warning level, you have to inform all other units even more. There must be a committee organised by the mayor, there already was a committee, actions had been taken ... to make people realise, that should anything ... should higher water come, they should be alert. The water was going higher by an hour ... it rose by one metre per hour. And we started... my wife started arranging accommodation for our people [The telephone rings].

Your wife started arranging accommodation...
Accommodation for holidaymakers and for our family, because she could feel what was coming, that it would rise a lot, and she wanted to ensure our ... because there are workers and our people from ODGW, so that they would have somewhere to spend the night.

Where did she start arranging the accommodation, in Miedzygórze itself?
That was on ... at Jasiu Madej’s up there...over there almost in the centre of Miedzygórze. And she had everything fixed, but without telling our holidaymakers anything, because she didn’t want to scare anyone, you know - that was why.

Yes. And when did the people start leaving the place?
Well, there was a bit of a problem with leaving, because not everything had been fixed, the mayor was afraid of the Walbrzych Voivode, he made the decision to rescue people, the buses, because he forecast, because you know if someone is not involved in the flood, well, he was a bit afraid that if he started evacuation, and then there would be nothing, he would be ... the mayor would have to bear the costs, wouldn’t he? - So he waited for quite some time for the decision from the Walbrzych Voivode, and the Voivode, sitting at the desk, to be quite frank ... well, he was ... well, waiting, waiting. But eventually he agreed with us and thanks to us - well, there were some of our firemen as well, and my wife called him as well. So he made the decision to evacuate people from the housing estate, and probably at eleven o’clock at night he started ... he arranged for a guy from Bystrzyca, coaches, and took people away. And as well he did, at his own risk, without asking the Voivode, because within some ... one hour the bridge was broken somewhere next to the depot, or within two hours. And the coaches wouldn’t have been able to leave the place. And there was the last car from us, the fire brigade, left at half past twelve at night. What’s more, my wife took the child and went to Wroclaw with a neighbour, on holiday.
Section 3
Yes. How ... What were you trying to do after the water started rising?
Well ... there are instructions ... there’s ... manipulations with the valve ... the bottom valves, but you closed it, closed it so that ... the bottom right valve ... but the water rose so much that you already had to open, at twenty-two metres, everything has to be opened. And then only the water was still rising. One o’clock on Saturday night ... sorry, Saturday ... on Sunday night, one-fifteen, water started overflowing the dam, and that is twenty-six sixty. It was already overflowing on the whole length of the dam. I phoned the director, I had good links with our director Kosierb, the one from the reservoir unit and I told regularly him how it was developing.
The first aid committee arrived here at one o’clock, with the mayor. He wanted to take me away from here, he says, evacuate me. And I made a joke that the captain never leaves his ship. I only asked them for help, some means of communication, in case of some tragedy, if the dam broke, I ... power breakdown, or lack of light, if I loose communication altogether and I can’t let them in Bystrzyca know. And the mayor said that he had a job to do in Bystrzyca. And he left. Later on I had a message from the director. He told me to find myself some cover, in case various things might happen to the dam, it was ... overflowing so heavily, I started to fear a bit. At that time I was all alone on the dam. I left here before two o’clock at night, it was already Monday morning, I went up, and at half past two, when I was standing by the dam, on the other side, the lights went off, all the light, so it was totally ... it was all pitch dark. I was afraid to go home to get myself a torch, after all I was on my own and I stayed by the dam, with an umbrella until dawn and was beginning to get light.
In the morning, at dawn, I started walking round the dam to see if everything was alright, I went down, it was about five o’clock, I went to Slowik (housing estate) and there were the police, so I asked them for some means of communication ... to let everyone know how the reservoir was and all, and what’s going on around. At first, they wouldn’t let me pass, but later I told them I worked there, because I was wearing a uniform, because I was wearing a different one cause ... everything was soaked. Finally, I was able to send a message to Walbrzych, to Wroclaw, that everything was alright, the dam was overflowing, its technical condition was alright and all ... And later I went along with the police to Miedzygórze to have a look what was going on there and I ... I had my coffee, my first cup of coffee at eight o’clock.
Section 4
So you went to the centre of Miedzygórze. What did you see there?
Well, I saw that ... the Bogoryja river, the one that joins the Wilczki, left its bed and went through the centre of Miedzygórze. I asked people for help, so that they should evacuate the estate. There was ... there were the GOPR people, quite a few of them, but somehow, some of them ... weren’t that willing to help. Somewhere around the army helped people out, cause Mr. Czajka and Mrs. Czajka lived there, near “Gigant” (guest house) and were being flowed away and all and there was no help to be found, you know. The fire brigade arrived as well, and they started helping us, the army as well, they were ca... carrying out all the belongings. By that time I had already went down again, to my dam, I checked everything, I let a number of people know in our estate, told them to evacuate, cause they ... people were scared, and the police were informed that there was a need to guard the estate, erm... the people living in the woods, cause the looters somewhere ... they started arriving from Bystrzyca. So I designated a couple of people, cause the police wanted to take someone there, for example me or something, and I say I can’t cause I have to guard the dam, don’t I? And there was a guy I know, a neighbour from the estate, I told them it was one of the inhabitants, and he went there with the police to guard that.

And what about the neighbouring villages?
The villages... There was one moment, at 1.45, my director, Mr. Kosierb gave us this piece of information that we should inform the Anti-Flood Committee to evacuate the whole of the village of Wilkanów. I passed the message on to the Committee...

And how did the start going down?
Well, going down ... well ... the water went down ... it started going down after fifteen... after one and a half days, at eighteen hundred hours, on the eighth. It started going down below the top of the dam and I got prepared to starting ... closing the middle valve, cause the rain wasn’t falling so heavily any more, so I was supposed to pass the water through in small waves, and then you close the middle valve a bit, so it flows through Wilkanów less rapidly. I while ... when it was going down, we wanted to close it entirely ... that is the middle valve, but something happened and we couldn’t ... close it completely. I reported it to the Management in Klodzko, that I couldn’t close the valve, and they eventually decided not to do anything about it. When the water had gone down below sixteen metres, later fourteen-six... sixty, it turned out that the bars that covering the middle outlet have been sucked in by the water to the outlet and there was ... no manipulation. After ... when we had let the water out completely, I reported to the fire brigade, so that they would come immediately ... and repair the bars, as we were expecting a second flood wave. When the water had gone down to eight-eighty, on the upper water meter, the fire brigade arrived, they dismantled the middle bars, in the middle valve and ... they had to make it quick cause we were afraid that ... the water would start rising again. In the meantime I reported to GOPR, cause the ... the middle outlet was blocked by timber logs and I was afraid that if the water started rising again, the middle outlet would be blocked. Well, the GOPR people arrived, had a look, and said they would come in a couple of hours. And it turned out that they didn’t and I ... I got irritated and I went along with one of the firemen and I had to descend this ladder there, go out and I pu ... I pushed those logs out, cleared the outlet, and when finally GOPR arrived, all the had to do was to clear the logs from the other... the other side of the dam, cause they were there, at the bottom of the dam.
[Now I am talking to Aleksandra Ulanska, the daughter, as Mr. Edward Ulanski is having a telephone conversation.]

Section 5
Your father is busy now. Can you tell me some funny anecdote connected with the flood?
Erm ... I mean it was like that ... After a few days when my father had been walking like that, from the neighbours to the dam and back, and it was raining all the time, all his clothes were soaked and ... those boots he was wearing, all that was soaked and awfully ... his feet were sore and his muscles hurt. Then the police went to the chemist’s in Bystrzyca and they brought him this special ointment, “Ben Guy” and this ointment has a very specific smell, very ... strong ... specific smell. It was ... there was such a moment, that there they were, my parents and neighbours, sitting together there ... in the kitchen. My mother told the father to lie down for a while and she would massage his feet with that ointment, so that it could alleviate the pain a little. She went, massaged the feet, bandaged them, dad went to sleep, and she came down again, sat down with the neighbours, and they were sitting there, talking, having tea, and suddenly one of mom’s friends says, “Marysia, this smell.... where did you put the paste, the ointment?” And mom says that she had used it all up. And she says it’s impossible, one could smell it in the kitchen, so it had to be somewhere there. Mom looked in her handbag, and there it was, a whole tube; she thought the police sent her... sent her two tubes. And they started laughing and all ... that dad would have another tube, and they forgot all about it. The next day, dad comes down ... as if ... as if newly born, he came, nothing ails him, and then mom looked at his feet and said, “Can you smell some mint?”, and she looked on what ... what she had thrown to the bin, looked, and it was a toothpaste tube. When they all found out about it, it was simply ... they laughed and laughed ... Now they know, if you’ve got some pain, the best thing is a tube of toothpaste.

Thank you.
[Discussion resumes with Mr. Edward Ulanski]

What else can you say about the flood as such, evacuating people or help after the flood?
Weeeell... My wife took care of the first aid, evacuating our people, workers, part of the state forest housing estate, to Mr. Jasiu Madej. Mr. Madej welcomed us cordially, turned on the central heating, there was hot water and all ... First help, I mean food, arrived from Mr. Andrzej Dmochowski from Slowik, he gave us ... delivered ... and we started functioning somehow. A number of families, something like eight, ten families there were at Madej’s; all was organised together. And ... as for some help from the outside, to be quite frank, we didn’t need any, everyone had their own money. Well, ... the only thing we were lacking was water ... generally speaking. The first proper help was brought to us from my ODGW, in a van. Lots of food, other stuff ... they arrived on the ninth at about one ... there was a whole transport from ODGW with our ... management, the main safety specialist to see about the dam: what condition it is in, they all concluded that ... it was alright, that it can stand the water.
Section 6
Could you tell me what ODGW stands for?
It stands for Okregowa Dyrekcja Gospodarki Wodnej (Regional Water Regulation Management) ... in Wroclaw, Inspectorate in Klodzko, dam in Miedzygórze. They let ... they manage the water ... regulate and let out water in the whole ... drainage basin of the Odra river and in ... here in Lower Silesia, cause there is another ODGW, apparently there are six in... the whole of Poland. In this area ... in the Wroclaw ODGW area, the highest water was in 1997.

What was your neighbours’ situation, your friends’, after the flood?
Well, some of them had a nervous breakdown, some ... one person went ... somewhere to hospital, ‘cause they fainted, ‘cause people were scared of ... the worst situation was down there ... at the forester’s, it took away the barn, the bridge; all in all, there was ... people were organised in the estate, people took turns guarding, usually there were eight people guarding, six ... they went there at night, cause they were afraid of looting. Even here, there was such a situation, on our premises, there were various people hanging around, and on the ninth they brought me an assistant from Wroclaw, and then we didn’t leave here ... we spent the nights on the premises, and we guarded our... our ODGW building. And the dam as well, as if by the way, didn’t we? There was a lot of help from outside... cause... Mr. Puk arrived, construction manager of the buildings... or... hired by the ODGW, he gave us his employees. And we had many extra ... Mr. Roman Puk’s employees - Water and Land Construction Enterprise from Ladek Zdrój - so they slept here, no electricity, no nothing, but we had water, gas lights, so from then on, I had better assistance, cause after all we needed sack, filled them with sand, mounted them on the promises outskirts, expecting the second wave...

And how about the second wave, did it come?
Oh, hardly had we gathered together after the first wave, which finished on the eighteenth and the water dropped to ... over five metres ... and we started or... organising our lives, we had telephone communication with the world, they quickly repaired electricity as well, light was on again... And on the nineteenth in the afternoon, it started ... rising, and the rain was heavy, but we were already prepared, and the organisation was better, the bars had already been ... the middle valve was secured, we were waiting for the second wave, we’d prepared sand sacks, the workers from Mr. Puk were here, together we ... secured the river banks with the sacks. There was a moment at night, such a critical one, the banks were lit ... the drifts that were coming towards us and ... there was a moment that we had to leave the building and strengthen the banks so that they wouldn’t overflow, and there was a moment that Walbrzych ... I was 10 minutes late with the report about the ... water level, it was critical ... so I got reprimanded by Walbrzych for not having reported on time, and I was busy securing the banks by the building.

How would you evaluate the organisation during the flood?
Well, the organisation ... well, in general ... a lot of ... at first, there was a lot of spontaneity and unbelief from all sides, but after some ... not a long time after that, in a couple of hours, everything was back to normal, and we got recognition and I received assistance from the fire brigade, assistance from the mayor, so altogether ... also with the police I had good contacts, everything worked alright and all ... I mean as far as the reservoir service goes. They helped us: the police helped ... later on WOP (border guards), GOPR joined us, as well as the... inhabitants also helped in the neighbourhood.
Section 7
Could you say that the people living here expected such a calamity?
Well, the ones... near ... those living not far from ... from the dam, they didn’t wait and see or anything, they knew from the very beginning that it was ... cause they came here, to the dam, they saw and ... whoever could leave for somewhere, they left. The worst thing was about Wilkanów, cause they were distrustful a bit, but here in the estate, people started on their own ... without waiting for all those ... took their household stuff and all, and they left for their relatives’, friends’. And then the mayor arranged the coaches, and he took ... they took some to Bystrzyca, some to Miedzygórze, and so partially the Wilkanów people, and ... those leaving on the outskirts knew, only several people, who didn’t wait till the end, and later had to be evacuated very quickly.

People would come to see the condition of the dam...
Yes, cause they didn’t believe, cause there were contradictory news ... contradict... messages that it was breaking, that it wasn’t breaking down. There were breaks, so that ... I mean breaks in the communication, it was far from perfect, so that ... One told another, that one added something, and in the end the rumours were, a total catastrophe was, that, that... There was ... there even was one moment when the radio and TV announced that the dam in Miedzygórze was breaking, but that was just an effect of the lack of communication ... some messages that were passed were incorrect. And so people ... they got scared and were running away. But we were lucky, everything was organised quite well, and we were rather proud of ourselves that in the district of Bystrzyca nobody got killed. Thanks to ... out help and ... the fire brigade and mayor Krynicki ... All in all, it worked, in the sense that we were glad that the first wave was going past and nobody around had been killed.

Do people still come here to see the condition of the dam when it rains?
Now it’s that they phone us from private telephones, when it rains, when it rains a bit... The call and ask privately, how much water. After the flood, the whole situation is a bit nervous, people get paranoid about it, cause although the dam didn’t go, but overflowed, and there were such damages, what would have happened if it had ... if it ... had broken somewhere or something and the tragedy would be much worse. Some people say the dam is not necessary, some say it is, and I think it is necessary, cause all in all, it stopped the first impact. People had some chance of leaving the hazardous area, cause if there had been a wave ... a huge one ... Cause some say what the dam for, what the bridges for, but the dam worked, but you know, there is such a huge flow of water, from all the hills, there are mountain streams, it goes so quickly ... It is not like in other towns, in flatlands, that the water comes slowly and things, here half a metre is enough, water runs and takes everything with it. And the current is fast, and the outlet must be fast. So I think the dam was necessary, and just as well that the Germans had built it, bigger, stronger. Our folks ... in the nineteen-seventies renovated it, they made some concrete reinforcements, so it doesn’t leak and it’s in good technical condition, so it can stand any other wave if it comes next time.
Section 8
Yes... What else can you say about help you received later, maybe from the government or from other institutions?
Well, all in all, the help we received, I ... personally ... on my own behalf I can say that I ... I didn’t need anything. The only thing I needed was water ... mineral water, that is, cause water here was bad. There was assistance, we received ... the mayor distributed them, they arrived from other parts of the country, and I also received some of it, but generally speaking, people had their own money, so, so ... Well, later there were various misunderstandings, but I just ... I don’t want to go into it, cause it’s not my ... it didn’t ... it was none of my business in that sense, wasn’t it? I had everything so ... ODGW supplied me, water was later brought by the mayor as well ... he also brought water.
At first, my wife and myself, we fed all the firemen, cause there was no communication, and here ... there were various duties to be attended elsewhere, somewhere, where nobody ... places nobody reached, and here the firemen were on duty all the time. And the fact is that there wasn’t all that here... At first, it was that Mr. Jasiu Madej and his wife ... our neighbours there ... we gave food to the firemen, and later the mayor delivered food for them, we were supplied by ODGW, they brought us food, so we didn’t lack anything, all in all. There was ... one might say in general ... there was a conflict, cause you know, if we had water here, in Klodzko they were gathering equipment: wheelbarrows, sacks, spades and they were bringing it all to me here. But it all got lost somewhere on the way, later someone came here when it was all over, they wanted to see the dam there ... and my wife says no-one is allowed to go there. And they say, yes, we were the first to collect necessities for the dam and they didn’t reach it. And it all got lost somewhere, but then ... and during ... but it all worked so well that we didn’t need those supplies, cause we had everything we needed in our anti-flood storage rooms, everything was there so that we could even ... We could give some stuff to Wroclaw, cause they had the wave later and they lacked torches, and we had a lot of them so we could... Only at the beginning we didn’t have light or means of communication, but other than that, it was alright.

This is a German dam. Did the Germans come here after the flood to see what it looked like?
Yes. Some Germans came to see it and all ... yeah ... “Gut” - they always said, it’s a good, good dam - and I’m telling you now, the Germans built it in the right place, and then we... the Poles sealed it in the eighties, cause before the flood ... the big one ... the dam leaked like hell, cause after all the German dam was weak and water leak... when it is operating, you know, water rinsed out some of the cement seals that the Germans put into it. And it leaked... quite a lot. In the eighties ... eighty-three and eighty-eight ... our folks, Poles renovated it. A company from Kraków renovated it, they bore holes at the bottom of the dam, in the foundations, and they put some concrete milk into it, all under high pressure. Immediately after that, the effect was that the dam didn’t leak at all after the flood, and if it had been done badly, it would have ... the effect would have been the reverse, wouldn’t it? And it might have, if there hadn’t been those ... bores ... and those ... renovation done by our folks, it could have been ... it could have been different.

That was the greatest flood. Do you remember any smaller...
Well, in ‘77, I hadn’t yet ... I wasn’t working here yet, the water level was one and a half metre from overflowing. It was also quite high, but people weren’t so scared. All in all, in the history of the dam, the highest water was in... in ‘97, it overflowed in ‘71, it overflowed in ‘37, but not so much, and it soon dropped. This time the water was the highest. According to some specialists, there was 90 per second ... the flow was about 90 m3 a second. So you can imagine what ... what the water flow was like, can’t you? After all this ... this dam of ours is a small dam, it’s capacity is 830 thousand m3, and ... there was so much water coming down.
Section 9
Well, I’ve come across speculations that the flood was caused by: the Czechs opening some of their dams, extremely heavy rainfalls, some say it was God’s punishment. What do you think about it?
God’s punishment my foot! Well, it was such a situation - anomalies, such weather, the stuff about the Czechs is just a piece of propaganda, cause they did let some water out, but into the Odra river. Here, in this area, there is no way for that to happen. There were rumours, some stupid discussions, somewhere there, and all that, that they put water ... into our Nysa River or something ... the Czechs did. They put water into the Odra ... from a dam and they ... they reported that ... in Warszawa, they reported it to the Water Institute, that they were letting water go. Here... Well... There were such clouds ... here, in the mountains and it rained so heavily ... none of those ... there was no punishment from God. Anything can happen here. It can happen at any time, can’t it? Today, people are the way they are, tomorrow they are different, so it can’t have been God’s punishment. It was water anomalies and that’s all there is to it...

The media blame ... for the flood and lack of assistance delivered on time ... they put the blame on the Meteo and Water Institute. What do you think? Did you receive some sort of warning from them?
Talking about the blame, it is ... it is a bit different so to say. I mean, in the past there were some sorts of training, national defence and such ... so called, that people were getting prepared for some ... some ... wars or floods or other ... catastrophes. Now, recently it has been given up and people didn’t know about it, they forgot about it, that there are ... what tragedies there are. But all in all ... as far as some messages or lack of messages... If it had been some time ago, various trainings, it could have been different, cause people didn’t know much about ... they were not ... not afraid ... I mean ... in the way that ... They didn’t believe the water was coming, how high it could be. They just didn’t believe, and ... Institutes... Well, institutes as such, I don’t know... There was none ... no warning whatsoever ... generally about rainfalls and things ... But there was one moment, on Sunday, and there could have been some message, the state-run services were not there, only maybe ... Information ...
Well, for example ... if you phone the Meteo and Water Institute in Klodzko and you report the water level, and you say it’s this and that, and the woman sitting there in Klodzko doesn’t know what it means, I report that the water dam is such and such, and passes on the message but she changes it ... I report 12 metres and she tells them one-point-twenty, something is evidently wrong, isn’t it?! There was such a moment, that I ... I got quite furious. This is what they are for, and only later, after the flood they make statements about some clouds which hadn’t been there before. It was only thanks to here ... the mayor, and the information exchange locally between us, that ... Cause later, the wave reached Wroclaw and they also had some problems there. Here the water came and the water went. They had more serious problems there, in Wroclaw, generally speaking ... We were lucky, nobody got killed around here, and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Nothing is so important, there ... people’s belongings and all that ... but nobody got killed in the district of Bystrzyca, and that’s on the assets side ... of the neighbourhood ... all the organisation ... and things. All the rest, cause a few people did get killed in ... apparently in Ladek, in the district of Miedzylesie a man got killed. Luckily, nobody got killed here and that’s good. Something to be proud of, isn’t it? Later, I got a medal ... from Kwasniewski ... our president, but the fact that although so many people, none got killed. Something to be happy about ... and all other things ... you can earn, save up again ... life is important...
Section 10
At the moment, there is modernisation work under way, isn’t it? But the dam’s condition is considered to be already good?
It is considered to be ... to be good, some say it is very good, but as far as ... the modernisation goes, it is modernised in the sense that ... the water passage is small and they want to increase it ... from 60 to 80, and the valves are to be ... electrical, automatically switched ... double suspension ... double power supply, plus additional hand operation. Also the water metres are to be electronic - the measurements and weather. So I will have tools ... I will know everything about the weather and everything - all this will be installed.
Only we are waiting for money now. All in all, the dam is very... [...] Another thing is, after the flood, specialists discovered that despite all ... all was in the Wilczki river bed in the centre of Miedzygórze ... it was all damaged, and all the rapids, which clear the water ... were damaged. There’s a project to build an additional small dam up the river ... a so-called anti-debris dam, whose task would be to take all the rocks, trees, mud which blocked the bottom outlets of our dam during the flood. It was a hard job after the flood to get to those bottom outlets, it was hard work, at nights, divers had to clear it to get to them. And now there is that anti-debris dam, and it will make things easier for ours. So the whole mass of rocks, timber and mud will not go straight onto our outlet bars, only ... onto the bars, I mean, the dam, it is a beautiful dam that’s been erected, quite a big one, 518 above the sea level, well, from one side to the other made of gambion baskets, so called and ... there are Italian baskets, first sort, they ... filled with rocks, There are 28 outlets, sixties, rocks ... pipes ... from stones ... outlets, so in case it gets partially blocked, it will be cleared gradually in this anti-dam ... anti-debris dam, so I think it will be better ... easier service at the reservoir during floods. [...]

What else can you say about the flood, the situation?
Well, the flood was awful, all in all. There were a lot of things that you had to see to, there are lots of ... it’s also thanks to the Germans that the dam and ... was so well constructed. In such a situation it once was the first one, it broke, and now it stood and its bottom segment was completely destroyed. I mean it was our, from ... waterfall from the dam destroyed, and now there is a concept ... Earlier the Germans built it from rocks and now ... in concrete, and now there’s this concept of wire baskets, and apparently those baskets are strong ... they resist ... the wires will last about a hundred years. And I think water will now flow... The river bed has been widened, in the sense that the water will flow and apparently it has been designed to go down to the Nysa river in the gambion bed. Only how ... as far as finance goes, it depends on the state budget - how this is going to work. During the ... well ... they finished work here, next to our home for ... for one kilometre there are those baskets, and they go down to ... as far as Wilkanów, via Wilkanów to Bystrzyca. What else is there...
Section 11
You didn’t leave your post during the flood. Would you like to move away from here, or would you rather stay?
The situation is, I’ve got used to this area. It’s ... a lot of green, clean air. The air suits me. Some Germans came here to see the place and they said when they lived here, you would stay here for 10, maybe 15 years and go elsewhere - they had to change the climate. And I here ... I’ve been working here for 19 years, and I like the climate, I’m healthier than I would be in a town ... in Wroclaw. Generally speaking, the climate is different, it’s harsher, but I fell alright and I wouldn’t like to change my job, because I like it here - my job and things, and this ... the neighbourhood, I like mountainous areas and feel alright.

When you came here from Wroclaw 19 years ago, did you like the mountains or did they simply ... scare you?
I mean ... All in all, they didn’t ... I liked and I still like the mountains, the only thing that scared me was ... the winter. It was in December that I came here, and I saw there was lots of snow. Well, in fact, I came over with small children. And the director here, the one who ... employed me says: people are over there, and there, so at first, I felt I was far from people. But I got used to it, I’ve got friends, neighbours, the atmosphere is quite good. [...]

Do you like travelling? Would you like to see some other mountains or go to the seaside, or do you prefer staying here, at home?
Talking of travelling, I like trips. I like and ... I’ve got relatives in the Bieszczady (mountains), I’ve got relatives at the seaside, we used to go there. Now I don’t have time, we are in the middle of the renovation, so there’s no way ... I can’t just leave, every now and then there are committees arriving, they hold some sort of symposia, from the West people come to see the ... after the ... the flood, they come to see the place, some TV crews come ... they write about how well the dam did. So, generally speaking, I don’t have time to ... to leave ... but I like travelling. Only I don’t like ... staying in one place for long, cause after all in the towns, like in Wroclaw ... now when I go Wroclaw, I feel bad. And here I feel fine.

Have you got used to the climate?
I mean ... the climate. If I now go to Wroclaw, it starts ... Cause I was threatened with asthma in Wroclaw ... they cured me. And here I am, I can drink, I smoke...

Summing up, tell me, do you like your work here, is it satisfying, maybe you would like to change something?
Well, me ... I’ve got used to this job, I like it, I got to like it ... I like fresh air. So, all in all ... I’m satisfied with my job. Certainly, the wages could be higher ... we are on the state budget, but I don’t complain, cause if you have a job, you can earn some extra somewhere ... I do various such ... various other sources of income, as well ... my job is done well. I’ve got permission from my ... superiors, so I can take a leave, work elsewhere for a while, earn something. So, yes, I am satisfied and I feel healthy, so I can ... stay here until retirement. I like the ... this climate and the environment I’m in, I’ve made friends with people, the neighbours, so I’m satisfied with my job.
Section 12
Thank you very much for the time you’ve devoted for this interview and maybe I will have an opportunity to work with you again in the future.
Thank you very much, goodbye.

Thank you.

1954 - birth
Approx. 1965 - children are born
1970 - arrival at Miedzygórze
1997 - the flood
1999 - present day
During the interview, Mr. Edward Ulanski often asked me to make a pause for a cigarette. He also made use of report book and documents referring to the dam. He insisted on writing down the dam’s parameters.
Overall length of the dam - 110 m
Maximum height - 28 m
Width at the base - 20 m
2 bottom outlets - 60 cm - 8.8 m3/sec.
1 middle outlet - 1.10 m - 15 m3/sec.
Total output - 61.3 m3/sec. (acc. to instructions)
During the flood - approx. 90 m3/sec.
Maximum water level - 25.8 m
Water level during the flood - 27.68 m (acc. to the upper meter)