Personal tools

next
previous
items

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Slovenia / Freshwater - Drivers and pressures (Slovenia)

Freshwater - Drivers and pressures (Slovenia)

Topics: ,
Except the impact of climate changes, significant rise of environmental pressures is not expected.
Topic
Freshwater Freshwater
more info
Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
Organisation name
Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
Reporting country
Slovenia
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
03 Jan 2011
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
Published: 05 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 03 Jan 2011 original
Key message

Except the impact of climate changes, significant rise of environmental pressures is not expected.
Agriculture, energy sector and partly tourism remain the key driving forces of pressures to the environment.

Figures

Figure 9: Tourist overnights in coastal areas, by month, 2007-2009

Source: Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, Environmental Indicators in Slovenia, TU01
Data source
http://kazalci.arso.gov.si/?data=indicator&ind_id=322&lang_id=94
Figure 9: Tourist overnights in coastal areas, by month, 2007-2009
Fullscreen image Original link

Population trends

The density and total number of inhabitants in Slovenia are gently rising, mainly through immigration but also, once again, from positive natural growth. The number of households is growing, owing to a reduction in the number of household members. Smaller households have higher environmental costs. Growth is being seen primarily in small settlements close to the larger cities, where major investments are needed for the adequate provision of municipal services and infrastructure. Pressure for new construction is greatest in areas of high-quality soil in lowland areas intended for farming (KM17).

Water exploitation

In 2006 groundwater bodies held a total of 922 million m3 of available groundwater, or 759 m3 per inhabitant. Use of water in industry has been reduced considerably. By far the greatest use, 99 %, has been for electricity generation. In 2008 more than 82,000 million m3 of water ran through turbines, and was then fully returned to the stream.

Primary importance in drinking water supply in Slovenia is held by the quality of groundwater, since this resource supplies as much as 97 % of the population (VD01).

Water abstraction

Data on water abstraction in Slovenia have been reliable since 2002, when the Waters Act laid down the acquisition of water rights for any special use of water. By 2008 around 40,400 legal entities and individuals had acquired rights for special use of water (VD14).

Of the remaining percentage of non-hydroelectric use of water, the major portion – 60-70 % or 800 million m3 – is for electricity generation in thermal power stations. Since 2002 water use for technological purposes has been declining, and accounted for just 4 % in 2007. Other uses – irrigation, snowmaking, beverage production, etc. – represent a small proportion of consumption, but they are growing.

Water demand, Households, Industrial production

Statistics on the quantity of water pumped into the mains water system for use in households and manufacturing indicate a reduction in the last decade, primarily due to more efficient use of water in industry – thanks to the impact of taxes payable for burdening water – and farming. Household consumption of water has not changed significantly.

Land use

More than half of Slovenia’s land surface is covered with forest, other mainly natural growth, including natural grassland, wetlands, aquatic, slightly or non-overgrown surfaces, covers 4 %, 35 % is mainly used for farming, while just under 3 % is artificial surfaces (CLC2006,TP01).

Data from the more detailed land use database (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia) indicate that between 2002 and 2007 the total extent of cultivated fields and gardens declined by 15.4 %, hop gardens by 16.3 %, land left to overgrow by 12.9 %, vineyards by 12.4 % and other uses by 20 %. The total extent of forests in this period increased by 1.5 %, olive groves by 41.7 %, grasslands by 6.9 % and extensive orchards by 2.2 % (KM10).

Agriculture

Agriculture is a relatively small sector of the Slovenian economy. Its share in GDP declined to 1.7 % in 2006, and its labour productivity is below the all-economy average.

Mineral fertiliser consumption decreased by 22.8 % between 1992 and 2006, which can be explained by stricter implementation of the principles of good agricultural practice that includes fertilization plans based on soil analyses. There was a downward trend in pesticides in most groundwater bodies between 1993 and 2005. Due to their persistence, atrazine and desethylatrazine are still among the substances that most often exceed the threshold values for individual pesticides in groundwater bodies comprising alluvial aquifers (KM19).

Tourism

Slovenia derives a major part of its tourism potential from its aquatic wealth. All the natural attractions, whose visitor numbers (TU02) are monitored by Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS), are associated with water. Most important among these are the two biggest Alpine lakes, Bled and Bohinj, and the karst caves of Postojna and Škocjan. Another important element is health spa tourism. With the proper provision of municipal services in growing coastal settlements, the direct input of pollutants into water from tourism has been reduced in recent years, although the need is still growing for the supply of tourist facilities with drinking water. There has also been an increase in maritime traffic and nautical tourism, and consequently a decline in the condition of all environmental components along the coast (TU01).

In recent years, with the increasingly persistent awareness of the possibility of climate change, pressure on water has also been growing in the mountainous areas of Slovenia as, in winter, there is a growing demand for snow-making on ski slopes (VD14).

Key message

Except the impact of climate changes, significant rise of environmental pressures is not expected.
Agriculture, energy sector and partly tourism remain the key driving forces of pressures to the environment.

Figures

Figure 10: Natural resources: Large and small hydroelectric stations

Source: Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, Environment in the palm of your hand: Slovenia, 2008
Data source
http://eionet.arso.gov.si/publikacije/Datoteke/OND07en/EnvironmentInThePalm-min.pdf
Figure 10: Natural resources: Large and small hydroelectric stations
Fullscreen image Original link

Energy sector

In 2007, electricity from the big hydroelectric stations, >10 MW, accounted for 19 % of electricity generated, and 84.6 % of electricity produced from renewable energy sources. This is followed by small-scale hydroelectric stations, with 3 % and 12 % respectively (EN17).

The estimated economic exploitation potential amounts to between 7,000 and 8,500 GWh a year, and in 2007 generation amounted to 3,265 GWh. From 2000 to 2007 the actual capacity of hydroelectric stations increased by 18.4 %, a result of refurbishing and was supplemented in 2007 by new small hydroelectric stations, whose total combined generation was 409 GWh in 2007 (EN19).

Further exploitation of water potential for generating electricity is problematic primarily in terms of preserving the vulnerable natural environment. There is discussion of exploiting the hydroelectric potential of the River Mura.

Impact of climate change

Analyses of the hydrological state in Slovenia indicate that the available quantities of water are diminishing and that the distribution of precipitation is changing in terms of time and space. Greater regional difficulties are anticipated due to the following effects of climate change: greater frequency and strength of hydrological, meteorological and geomorphological natural threats, droughts, heat waves, storms, high winds, frosts, hail and fires in the natural environment due to temperature extremes, a change in precipitation and flow regimes and a deterioration in the ecological and chemical quality of water.

Wastewater treatment

The proportion of the population whose wastewater is treated in municipal or communal treatment facilities, rose from barely a fifth in 1998 to almost half in 2007. Sixty-five per cent of a total of 111 million m³ of treated wastewater attained a secondary level of treatment in these facilities in 2007. Compared to other European countries, the proportion of inhabitants connected to the wastewater drainage system is low, largely a consequence of the scattered settlement of Slovenia (VD02).

Emissions to water

Point sources of water pollution cause problems chiefly during periods of low flow of watercourses and when legally established emission values are exceeded. However, it is harder to exercise control over diffuse sources of emissions into surface and groundwater. There are difficulties in removing wastewater from settlements where sewers and treatment facilities are not yet properly in place, and these are compounded by nutrients from plant protection agents used in agriculture. In the Danube drainage area the calculated total annual emissions in 2003/2004 amounted to 6,339 t/year of nitrogen and 27 t/year of phosphorus, while in the Adriatic drainage area in the same period annual emissions were 641 t/year of nitrogen and 3 t/year of phosphorus (VD10).

Geographic coverage

Document Actions
Disclaimer

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

Filed under: ,

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100