Rivers under threat and citizen engagement, in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Rivers under threat and citizen engagement, in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dragana Skenderija is an activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her organization is called “Center for environment” (Centar za zivotnu sredinu) and she has been active in the Youth network for River Action group since 2016. The main reason why she participated is her love for the rivers, and because she sees so many problems in the Balkans with dams and hydropower plants. Her maxim: Freedom for all rivers around the world.


She reports to us the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through a one-year journey on actions for river protection.


Last year was very turbulent when talking about the fight for river protection.


Our first action was on International day of action for rivers (March 22nd), when we’ve sent a clear message to the public. We had the big banner with the inscription:”300 hydro power plants/244 rivers in BiH/ to whom???”

Source: The Center for Environment, BH


In May there was a public debate for the river Ljuta, where four organizations took part and were defending opinion that the river Ljuta must remain an untouched wild river.


On 5th of June on the occasion of World Environment Day and the Day of the River Sana, the Coalition for Sana organized a protest for the seventh year in a row at the spring of this beautiful river. The Coalition again appeals that the sources of Sana should be preserved, despite the construction of the hydroelectric power plant "Medna". Coalition for Sana, consisting of 23 associations of nature and sport lovers, together with the Municipality of Ribnik, has been trying for years to prevent this crime against nature and citizens.


Source: The Center for Environment, BH 

Investor of "LSB Elektrane" from Banja Luka under the aegis of "Interenergo" d.o.o. Ljubljana owned by the Austrian-German company Kelag International, is building a small hydroelectric power plant "Medna" at the very spring of the Sana River. After all the arguments that we have been emphasizing over eight years, the Coalition for Sana in 2016 prepared the Economic Justification Study, thus proving the economic impediment of this project and the negative financial effect of the budget of the Municipality and Republika Srpska in the amount of over one million marks (BAM).


In July, Center for Environment, at the biggest water event in Europe – racing on the Drina river, organized an action dedicated to the protection of this river and life in it.

About 20,000 participants went on boats and traditional wooden rafts down this beautiful river. At this year's event, associations of nature lovers and fishermen protested together against the construction of hydroelectric power plants that pose a threat to all Balkan countries. The Drina is the most important natural habitat for the huchen, globally endangered fish species, which can reach up to 1.5 m in length. The Drina is under threat of building nine new large hydro power plants, including the Buk Bijela project.

Source: Dusan Micic


The Idbar dam was built in 1959 in the valley below Prenj mountain, in the territory of Konjic, in order to stop the deposit in the Jablanicko lake. The effort eventually resulted in nothing except in losing a lot of money: the dam broke soon after the commissioning of the dam. Now Bascica river flows through it, the water has won against the dam. When the dam was built, no one expected that the river Bascica would be so strong, and that the water would accumulate at such a high speed, until it began to overflow.fter what, there was a crack in the a dam which could have had catastrophic impacts. Townspeople said that only them knew how this river dangerous could be. However, no one believed them.




Also in July we symbolically painted the dam Idbar on the river Bašćica, which for decades has reminded us of the helplessness of man over nature and the consequences of unplanned construction.




Source: The Center for Environment, BH 

Something unexpected happened in August. In the dawn of the night in the village of Kruščica near Vitez, the special police forcefully dispersed the demonstrators, some of whom ended up with serious injuries. Demonstrators did not resist or provoke, but the police responded by physically removing the demonstrators, thus securing passage of construction machinery across the bridge. After the removal of the demonstrators, many were detained and criminal investigations were conducted over and many of them turned to the clinic for medical assistance.This is yet another proof that citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are not protected by institutions and that such monstrous events can happen even to women and children. Citizens of Kruščica defend their right to a healthy environment and the right to water, as their basic human right, while the main motivation for investors and those who protect their interests is purely profit.


Source: The Center for Environment, BH 


New year, new threat.


New project for construction of hydro power plants is planned on the river Vrbas. A large number of residents said that they did not want a new hydroelectric power plant on Vrbas and that they would not give their land for the construction of this hydroelectric power plant. They are aware that they do not benefit from the already existing  hydroelectric power plants "Bocac 1" and "Bocac 2" which are under construction, so they  will not benefit from this hydroelectric power plant either, but only suffer.


The fight for the rescue and protection  of the river Vrbas just begins.


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