Country profile - Societal developments (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
The country is classified as semi-arid – the area of Ovce Pole is the driest area in the central Balkan Peninsula. The use, protection and conservation of water resources is therefore of utmost importance. According to the hydrographical conditions of the country there are four river basin areas and three major natural lakes. Most of the surface waters are internal to the country and formed on the territory by precipitation. Macedonia is not rich in surface water, having about 3 000 m3/capita, and is dependent on depends on precipitation. In total, the annually available surface water is assessed to be in the order of 6 372 billion m3.
About 4 400 springs with a total annual yield of 992 million m3 are registered of which 58 have a capacity of over 100 l/s.
Macedonia abounds with mineral water, thermal water and thermo-mineral water. Geothermal water is traditionally used for spa and medical cure purposes.
There are 44 wetlands covering a total area of 57 422 ha, or about 2 % of the total territory. Most of this area is occupied by natural lakes. The water quality of these wetlands is endangered by uncontrolled wastewater discharges, uncontrolled water abstraction, tourist activities and unfavourable weather conditions.
The monitoring network covers 20 measuring points located on rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Quality control consists of analysis of physical-chemical, toxic-chemical, and microbiological parameters.
There is no systematic monitoring of industrial wastewater.
The water supply systems are operated and managed by public enterprises. In the urban municipal areas, connection rates are 82-100 %, with 1 200 000 inhabitants in these areas are connected to a public water supply system. In rural areas, connection rates exhibit a spread of 10-100 %. The available data indicate average connection rates of about 70 % corresponding to an estimate of 250 000 inhabitants connected to a public water supply system.
Only 12 cities have constructed separate sewage systems. The City of Skopje has constructed a separate system for wastewater (56%) and for precipitation water (18%), from the overall planned system for wastewater and precipitation water network in City of Skopje. The length of the collection network is 280.6 km. At the national level, the length of the sewage collection network is 1 239.1 km. Sixty percent of dwellings are connected to a public sewage system, 21 % have septic tanks and another 19 % have only a system of uncontrolled wastewater discharge. There is no monitoring of the wastewater discharged by municipal sewage systems. The management of the sewage systems is the responsibility of the public water supply and sewage enterprises.Investments in municipal infrastructure are at very low level, and will need to increase in order to meet the requirements of the acquis. There is a lack of a general plan for environmental investment, especially in the area of wastewater treatment.
 Second National Environmental Action Plan of the Republic of Macedonia, 2006, page 31, page 36