Freshwater - Drivers and pressures (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

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In Bosnia and Herzegovina, central municipal water supply systems are managed by over 120 water utilities, which are usually organised as public companies.....
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015

Domestic water supply

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, central municipal water supply systems are managed by over 120 water utilities, which are usually organised as public companies, owned by municipalities, cantons or cities. According to the country's National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), the central municipal water supply systems, managed by municipal water supply utilities cover 56 % of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 48 % in the Republika Srpska. Those who are not covered by the central municipal water supply system rely on their own local community water supply systems or on individual wells. 

Before 1991, maintenance and repair was not carried out systematically on water supply systems and during the war they often did not function. in some areas, the war caused serious destruction to networks and water supply facilities. Total water losses in water supply systems for households range from 25–75 % in different water utilities. In addition, there is often over 30 % physical leakage.


Even before the war in 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina had a much lower irrigated surface area than the world average. According to official statistics for 2006, the country now has 1 553 000 hectares of cultivable land and 1 005 000 hectares of arable land. According to the Federal Agricultural Strategy for 2006-2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina only irrigates around  8 000 hectares of its surface, i.e. around 0.5 % of cultivable land or 0.8 % of arable land. Unfortunately, during the war (1992–1995) some irrigation systems were destroyed and put out of use, however some of these have been reconstructed. Most irrigation now occurs in the southern, Mediterranean zone of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the north, close to the Sava river. 

Exact technical data on irrigation facilities, water quantities used for irrigation and modes of irrigation is currently not available.


According to the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina mainly use water from their own sources, however they also take some from the public water supply system. It is assumed that industrial production in Bosnia and Herzegovina is greatly reduced compared to the situation at the beginning of the 1990s (around 35 % of the pre-war capacity). As a result, water consumption in the industrial sector has been reduced, which has also contributed to a decrease in pollution.

CLIM002: Observed changes in annual precipitation

The extreme and average monthly values for precipitation were analysed at Tuzla, Sarajevo and Mostar, for the three major climatic modifications in Bosnia and Herzegovina: moderate continental climate in northern Bosnia and the lower parts of central Bosnia, in the higher mountainous parts of central Bosnia, and coastal climate in Herzegovina, the southern part of the country. Figure 2 shows the maximum, minimum and average values of monthly precipitation for two periods of 26 years − 1956-1981 and 1982-2007. Significant changes can be seen for Mostar, where the average precipitation during the period 1982-2007 was significantly lower than in the period 1956-1981, for all months except September. Mostar is located in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian part of the Adriatic river basin and is influenced by the the Mediterranean climate.

For those parts of the country with a continental climate, it is not possible to draw conclusions on significant changes in precipitation based on the graphs below indicating average annual values. It is necessary to carry out a more sophisticated analysis using other research methods for the calculation of precipitation: increases in the number of consecutive days without rain, changes in intensity and frequency of storm, flooding and drought and the inclusion of phenomena that have previously occurred only once every 50 years, but which now occur every five to ten years. The climatic modification for the higher mountainous parts of central Bosnia appears to be missing.

Figure 2. Extreme and average values for monthly precipitation in Tuzla, Sarajevo and Mostar for the periods 1956-1981 and 1982-2007.

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