Freshwater - Drivers and pressures (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

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SOER Common environmental theme from Macedonia the former Yugoslavian Republic of
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015

Use of freshwater resources (P)

The total quantity of water abstraction in the country is decreasing, especially from surface waters (Figure. 9).

The decreased quantity of surface and ground water abstracted for industry may be an indirect sign of the industrial crisis in the country, but even current industry is still the biggest user of groundwater (Figures 10 and 11). As per the spike in 2004 it should be emphasized that this was hydrologically  a very  reach year which among others resulted with a substantial increase of the quantities of water abstraction  especially by the Manufacturing industry and the area of production of electricity. As a consequence of this, the water quantities lost during the transport also were increased in 2004 (Fg.13)

Public water supply is still the highest user.

Wastewater discharge

Around 50% of the population in the country is connected to some sewerage network (Figure 13).

Most wastewater is discharged directly into inland waters with a serious bad effect on water quality (Figure 14).

Urban wastewater treatment (p)

In only 16 % of the public sewerage systems  in 2006 some kind of treatment exists, but in 50 % this is only mechanical treatment and there are very few treatment plants with biological treatment (Figure 15).

Evaluation of pressures

There is a general falling trend of the annual average discharges for all river basins. This is most marked in the region with moderate-continental-sub-Mediterranean climate. The results indicate that river basins with low precipitation would be severely affected by climate change.

The country has a severe problem with liquid waste treatment. In only around 6 % of populated settlements with public sewerage plants does municipal wastewater receive mechanical or biological treatment. Although this percentage has been increasing, it is not satisfactory in relation to EU requirements. The average rate of wastewater collection in sewerage collection systems is around 70 %, and around 60% of households are connected to a public sewerage network, 21% of households have septic tanks, and the remainder have uncontrolled discharge of wastewater. At present, there are six urban wastewater treatment plants and two are under construction. Although some rural areas with more than 2 000 inhabitants have developed combined domestic sewerage and storm-water collection systems, there is no treatment prior to discharge. Industrial wastewater is also discharged without prior treatment, or pre-treatment is in poorly maintained, inefficient facilities.

In general, the country has difficulties in coping with extreme hydrological events – droughts and floods – due to a lack of financial, technical and institutional capacity and legal instruments.

Analysis of the economic losses experienced during the flash floods in 2004 showed that 91.3 % of the total damage was to agricultural production, mainly in the south eastern part of the country. The biggest losses were in rural areas where both households and cultivated areas were flooded. Existing data suggest a sinusoidal pattern of dry and wet episodes, with a 60 year cycle. The current wet period is expected to peak in 2020.

The potential sites at most risk from flooding are shown in Map 3.

Frequent and intensive droughts exacerbate poor social and economic conditions in the rural parts of the south and east of the country. For example, a prolonged drought in 1993 reduced most of the crop yields and in many cases resulted in total crop failure. Countrywide, the damage caused amounted to 7.6 % of total national income.


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