Freshwater - Why care? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Satisfying the freshwater needs of present and future generations is a matter of the utmost importance for society. To do this it is necessary to preserve the integrity, diversity and quality of aquatic ecosystems and freshwater resources and treat them as natural treasures.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has internal renewable water resources amounting to 35.5 x 109 m3/yr. Taking into account the country’s estimated population (3.926 million) the total renewable water resources per capita in Bosnia Herzegovina are 9.041 m3/inhabitant/year. However, these volumes are unevenly distributed.
There is a clear discrepancy between the amount of surface water available and the country's needs. The areas where water is scarcest are those with the greatest needs – for example, the sub-basin of the Bosna river is the most densely-populated area and also contains a large concentration of industrial resources. There is a period of water scarcity from June-September and this is the period during which water is most needed (population requirements, agriculture). At the same time, waste water treatment remains inadequate.
The situation regarding water quality is also unfavourable. The most densely-populated areas are also those where water is most polluted and many of them do not have a filter or treatment system to protect the quality, which limits usage downstream. One positive influence on the quality of surface water has been the decrease in industrial and agriculture activity during the post-war period.
One of the characteristics of the river network in Bosnia and Herzegovina is that numerous water courses are categorised as international rivers, either because they are boundary rivers or because they cross borders between Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries.
Groundwater is an extremely important resource for water supplies. Estimated total reserves are 37.08 m3 (karst aquifers – 90 % and inter-granular aquifers 10 %) and the quality is good.
The institutions governing the water sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina function at different administrative levels. There are two state ministries dealing with water issues: the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is responsible for the coordination of activities and harmonisation of plans between government bodies in the two entities (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska). In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry plays a major role in water management. Under the 2006 Water Act, two water agencies were established: the Sava River District Water Agency, for the Danube basin, and the Adriatic Sea District Water Agency.
For references, please go to http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/countries/ba/freshwater-why-care-bosnia-and-herzegovina or scan the QR code.
PDF generated on 28 Apr 2017, 12:59 PM