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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Croatia

Freshwater (Croatia)

Why should we care about this issue

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Water availability in Croatia is sufficient, but its spatial and annual distribution is unfavourable (which is more evident in the Adriatic Sea basin district). The environmental changes caused by natural phenomena, but also by the impact of human activity, may threaten water quality. The negative effects of unavailability of sufficient quantities of water, use of water of inadequate quality, and natural disasters are multiple and include deterioration of human and animal health, loss of biodiversity and economic losses. Croatia applies an integrated water management policy in order to ensure sufficient quantities of water of appropriate quality for the current and future needs, taking into account the renewability of sources.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Figures

Figure 1. Integrated overview of the quality of surface inland waters, 2004-2008

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Figure 1. Integrated overview of the quality of surface inland waters, 2004-2008
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Figure 2a. Mean annual values of Zinc, 2004-2008

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Figure 2a. Mean annual values of Zinc, 2004-2008
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Figure 2b. Mean annual values of Cadmium 2004-2008

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Figure 2b. Mean annual values of Cadmium 2004-2008
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Figure 2c. Mean annual values of Nickel 2004-2008

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Figure 2c. Mean annual values of Nickel 2004-2008
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Figure 3. Overall assessment of quality of water intakes, wells and observation wells, 2004–2008

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Figure 3. Overall assessment of quality of water intakes, wells and observation wells, 2004–2008
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Figure 4. Mean annual values of nitrates in springs, water intakes and wells, 2004–2008

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Figure 4. Mean annual values of nitrates in springs, water intakes and wells, 2004–2008
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Data sources

Hrvatske vode
Data sources
Source

Water quantities

The total quantity of water available in Croatia is approx. 156.32x109 m3 per year, out of which 23% are own waters. Surface water quantities have been systematically monitored for many years, while determining of groundwater reserves is partly based on estimates due to complex hydrogeologic relations at the Croatian territory and insufficient and inconsistent aquifer prospecting (Table 1).

 Table 1. Quantities of surface inland water (water balance), 1961-1990

Indicator

 

Danube River basin district

Adriatic sea basin district

Croatia

Area

km2

35,132

21,406

56,538

Precipitation

mm

1,001

1,426

1,162

Evapotranspiration

mm

663

761

700

Specific runoff

L/s/km2

10,71

21,1

14,6

Water resources - total

109 m3/yr

83,72

27,94

111,66

Water resources – per capita

m3/yr/capita

27,487

20,077

25,163

Own waters - total

109 m3/yr

11,86

14,22

26,08

Own waters – per capita

m3/yr/capita

3,894

10,218

5,877







Source: Hrvatske Vode (Croatian Waters)/ Water Management Strategy 

 

Inland water quality

The quality of inland water is monitored and assessed in order to protect and preserve water quality in accordance with the Regulation [4]. The assessment of inland water quality in this report, prepared in accordance with the Regulation [1], does not include its amendments, since they were passed at the end of 2008. The number of stations at which the quality of inland water is monitored is given in Table 2.

 

Table 2. Number of stations for monitoring inland water quality in Croatia by basin districts, 2004-2008

Basin district

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

SURFACE INLAND WATER

Republic of Croatia

271

230

238

325

325

GROUNDWATER

Danube River basin district

Sava river basin

185

193

205

191

187

Sava river basin*

2

3

4

4

4

Drava and Danube river basins

-

-

-

41

40

Adriatic sea basin district

Istria-Littoral river basins*

11

11

11

11

11

Dalmatian river basins*

-

-

4

5

5

Republic of Croatia

 

198

207

205

252

247

* (water intakes)

Source: Hrvatske vode (Croatian Waters) 

According to their quality, inland waters are classified into one of five classes in relation to the allowed limit values of indicators of oxygen regime, nutrients, and microbiological and biological indicators, while excluding dissolved oxygen, oxygen saturation and nitrates as indicators of groundwater quality. Water classes are graphically presented by colour, namely blue for class 1, green for class 2, yellow for class 3, red for class 4 and black for class 5.

In the period 2004–2008, surface inland water mostly belong to class 2 with respect to biological parameters, class 2 and 3 with respect to oxygen regime and nutrients, and class 3 and 4 with respect to microbiological indicators (Figure 1). There is a characteristic trend of a slight decrease in BOD5 and ammonia concentration in rivers and lakes, i.e. organic pollution of rivers and lakes as a result of construction of sewerage systems and commissioning of new urban wastewater treatment plants.

According to the limit values of indicators for metals, in the period 2004–2008, surface inland waters mostly belong to class 1 with respect to zinc and nickel content, and in 2007 and 2008 to class 1 with respect to cadmium content (Figure 2a, b, c). Other metals monitored in the water column (copper, chromium, lead, mercury) are below the detection thresholds of the methods used.

At the majority of monitoring stations, the quality of groundwater corresponds with class 1 (Figure 3). Deviations from the planned class of groundwater were mostly due to nutrients and microbiological indicators. Nitrate pollution in groundwater, which is monitored pursuant to the Ordinance [2] that stipulates the maximum allowed concentration (MAC) of nitrates in groundwater of 50 mg NO3/L, varies by river basin (Figure 4). Settlements are mostly supplied with abstracted groundwater (90 % of the total quantities), and thus their protection is of special importance.

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Figures

Figure 5. Estimated discharge of organic pollution in industrial wastewater (tonnes CODCr /year), 2004-2008

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Figure 5. Estimated discharge of organic pollution in industrial wastewater (tonnes CODCr /year), 2004-2008
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Figure 6 Spatial distribution of urban wastewater treatment plants, 2008

Text related to figure 6 cro. Stupanj pročišćavanja = en. Treatment cro. Prethodni stupanj = en. Previous stage cro. I stupanj = en. I stage cro. II stupanj = en. II stage cro. III stupanj = en. III stage
Data source
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Figure 6 Spatial distribution of urban wastewater treatment plants, 2008
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Figure 7. Non-point sources of pollution from agriculture (by total N)

Text related to figure 7: cro. Ukipni dušik = en. Total nitrogen cro. Polj. površina = en. Agricultural land cro. Obradiva površina = en. Arable land cro. Pašnjaci = en. Pastures cro. Slivovi Dunava i Drave = en. Danube and Drava river basin cro. Sliv Save = en. Sava River basin cro. Primorsko-Istarski slivovi = en. Primorje and Istria river basins cro. Dalmatinski slivovi = en. Dalmatia river basins

Data source
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Figure 7. Non-point sources of pollution from agriculture (by total N)
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Data sources

Hrvatske vode
Data sources
Source

Water use

The average annual quantity of water abstracted for the needs of the population and industry in the period 2004-2008 amounted to 530 million m3, and the largest quantities were used for public water supply (Table 3).

In 2006, the average population coverage rate for public water supply systems amounted to approx. 80% (91 % in the Adriatic sea basin district and 77 % in the Danube River basin district).

 

Table 3. Abstracted water by use (average for 2004–2008)

Use

Quantity (million m3)

Public water supply

480

Process water (in-plant intake structures)

44

Water for irrigation

5.5

Mineral and thermal water

1.7

Source: Hrvatske vode (Croatian Waters) 

Wastewater – point sources

The quality of urban and industrial wastewater is monitored in accordance with the requirements of the Ordinances [3, 4], which transposed into the national legislation the majority of requirements of the UWWT Directive and E-PRTR Decision. According to estimates, the quantity of organic pollution in industrial wastewater (tonnes CODCr) was reduced in the period 2006-2008 (Figure 5), and the most significant decrease was recorded in the Danube River basin district.

In 2008, there were 101 operational urban wastewater treatment plants (Figure 6) with installed capacity of 3.48 million PE, treating 27% of wastewater from total population, i.e. 62 % of collected domestic wastewater. 15% of urban wastewater is treated at secondary treatment plants, 9% at pretreatment plants, 3% at primary treatment plants and 0.4% at tertiary treatment plants.

The connection rate of the population to public sewerage systems in agglomerations of more than 150,000 PE is the highest and amounts to 74 % (approximately 30% of total population lives in such agglomerations), and the lowest in so-called small agglomerations of 2,000 PE, amounting to approx. 7 % (there are 469 small agglomerations with approx. 13 % of total population).

Non-point sources of water pollution

Non-point pollution from agriculture is estimated on the basis of: land area, category of land use, calculation of fertilisers and soil assessment (Figure 7). The pressure was estimated based on indicators relating to regular agricultural activities, through consumption of mineral fertilisers and quantities of organic fertilisers from animal farms. The highest nitrogen loads from non-point sources of pollution are found in the Danube River basin district.

 

 

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Integrated water management ensures sufficient quantities of drinking water for the population, adequate quantities of water for various business uses, protection of people and material assets from adverse effects of water, and defines the conditions for achieving and preserving the good water condition with the objective of protecting aquatic and water-dependent ecosystems. Principle of sustainable development includes integrated water resources management that ensures balance between usage of resources for improvement in living conditions and stimulation of development and protection of resources and preservation of their ecological functions while respecting international commitments and standards at the boundary and transboundary water courses. Therefore, it is particularly important to focus on own water resources in planning and sustainable use.

 Protection of waters and other activities related to integrated water management in the planned investment cycles (until the year 2038) will be achieved by gradual implementation of a series of activities and measures described in detail in the Strategy [5].

Thus, inter alia, it is planned to increase the connection rate of the population to public water supply systems to 85-90% and reduce unaccounted-for water from the water supply system to 15–20% by 2023.

In order to reduce pollution from sewerage systems (point sources), it is planned to increase the connection rate to public sewerage systems to approx. 70% in agglomerations between 2,000 and 10,000 PE; approx. 77 % in those between 10,000 and 15,000 PE, and approx. 100 % in agglomerations of more than 15,000 PE. This will increase the connection rate to public sewerage systems to approx. 60% of the total population (i.e. 2,660,000 inhabitants). The remaining UWWT Directive requirements will be implemented in the post-2023 investment cycle [5].

 

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 22 Dec 2010

The process of harmonisation of the Croatian water management policy with EU acquis has led to the adoption of the Strategy [5], two key acts [6, 7] and several by-laws. The Waters Act entered into force on 1 January 2010, and the majority of by-laws (a total of 35) will be adopted by 2012, by which the harmonisation with EU legislation would be complete. Transitional periods for harmonisation, especially with financially demanding directives, are the subject of pre-accession negotiations with the EU (this particularly relates to the short deadlines and high implementation costs of the financially demanding directives: UWWT Directive (91/271/EEC, 98/15/EC) - estimated capital investment of approximately 2.75 billion EUR (20 billion HRK), and the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) - estimated capital investment of approximately 1,79 billion EUR (13 billion HRK)).

In addition to the regular activities of construction and development of wastewater sewerage and treatment systems, two other projects have been launched in order fully to implement the UWWT Directive, which, in addition to local co-funding, include the funds of World Bank loans:

-      Jadranski Projekt (Adriatic Project) - coastal cities pollution control project (the first project stage completed, the second and third stage are planned for the period 2009-2014)

-      Inland Waters Project - development of wastewater sewerage and treatment systems in the Danube River basin district planned to be completed by the end of 2012.

 

 References:

[1]   Regulation on Water Classification (Official Gazette 77/98, 137/08)

[2]   Ordinance on Sanitary Quality of Drinking Water (Official Gazette 47/08)

[3]   Ordinance on Limit Values of Indicators of Hazardous and Other Substances in Wastewater (Official Gazette 94/08)

[4]   Ordinance on the Environmental Pollution Register (Official Gazette 35/08)

[5]   Water Management Strategy (Official Gazette 91/08)

[6]   Waters Act (Official Gazette 153/09)

[7]   Water Management Funding Act (Official Gazette 153/09)

 

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The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

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