Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Croatian rivers face hydroelectric peril
Karlovac, Croatia (AFP) April 19, 2017

Swans glide peacefully over green river waters in the central Croatian area of Karlovac, a tranquil spot popular with fishermen and swimmers that environmentalists fear could be devastated by hydropower projects.

Croatia faces a dilemma as it produces no more than 75 percent of the electricity it needs for its 4.3 million people each year, half of which comes from its dense network of rivers.

But to build on its self-sustainability risks damaging the appeal of these picturesque waterways, in a country where tourism brings in 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2016, the Karlovac region alone brought in almost 300,000 tourists.

Several dozen small hydroelectric power projects are now planned across Croatia, built by either the state-run HEP national energy group or private companies.

Activists fear they will have a far-reaching negative impact in a country that prides itself on its pristine nature.

"Small hydro plants are nothing but misleading to the public, since it is implied that their impact is small," said Irma Popovic Dujmovic from the local branch of environmental watchdog WWF.

"In fact, their impact on small rivers is the same as the impact of large plants on large rivers, notably if dams are constructed," she said.

In Croatia, the situation is most critical in Karlovac, known as the "town on four rivers" -- one of which has already been damaged by hydropower.

"The Lesce plant killed the Dobra river. The Korana, Mreznica and Kupa (rivers) are now at stake," said Denis Franciskovic of Eko Pan, a Croatian environmental group.

- 'Significantly fewer fish' -

The large Lesce plant was inaugurated in 2010 -- the first in the former Yugoslav republic since it became independent in 1991 -- with the aim of boosting economic activity in an area particularly hard hit during the 1990s Balkan wars.

But barely a year later, authorities named a special team to deal with the plant's damage after it flooded a 13-kilometre (eight-mile) stretch of one of Croatia's most beautiful canyons.

Zeljko Capan from a local fishing club said he and fellow fishers had noticed "significantly fewer fish" since the plant was installed.

"We should concentrate on tourism. What else is there to do in Karlovac and its region?"

Eight small hydropower plants are now planned in the area, where unemployment is high and communities are trying to revive their economies with activities for visitors such as canoeing and rafting.

Forty percent of the region is also in Natura 2000, a European Union network aimed at protecting biodiversity across Europe.

Officials acknowledge that the Lesce plant's construction, based on a 1985 environmental impact study, gave hydropower a bad name, but say lessons have been learned.

"The environment will not be destroyed, it will be preserved," said Marinko Maradin, head of Karlovic's department for spatial planning and the environment.

Hydropower has been used in the region for centuries without devastating nature, he said.

"There is almost no waterfall without human intervention, from old watermills to modern plants."

- 'Dangers are real' -

Advocates of small-scale hydropower emphasise the need to stabilise and distribute the system, bringing production facilities closer to consumers.

Croatia's accession to the European Union in 2013 has also helped to improve regulations in the sector.

But the financial benefits for local communities are often small. The town of Ozalj in central Croatia, for example, gets less than 10,000 euros ($10,500) annually as compensation from a plant on the Kupa river.

Nikola Zivcic, a 57-year-old resident of the tiny town of Slunj on the Korana river, is worried about two plants planned in the area known for its picturesque watermills and waterfalls.

"The benefits (of the plants) are small or negligible while dangers and potential damages are real," Zivcic said, stressing that tourism was crucial to the town's survival.

Concerns about new projects go beyond Croatia's borders and across the Balkans, where there is a "tsunami" of plans to construct more than 2,000 plants in the next few years, according to Franciskovic.

"The blue heart of Europe is at risk of a heart attack," warns Balkan Rivers, an ecological campaign group.

US military helping op to seize strategic dam near Syria's Raqa
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2017
The US military provided air and artillery support - and transported local forces - in an offensive for a vitally important dam near the Islamic State group's stronghold of Raqa in Syria, officials said Wednesday. Tabqa Dam at the southern end of Lake Assad is about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Raqa, which IS views as the capital of its supposed "caliphate." The IS-held facility p ... read more

Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SES Launches Rapid Response Vehicle for Defence, Security and Humanitarian Missions

US to honour 'dumb' refugee deal with Australia: Pence

'Is this Miami?': An Iraqi family's Colombian odyssey

Sri Lanka ends search for garbage survivors as toll hits 32

MIT engineers manipulate water using only light

NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion

Tweaking a molecule's structure can send it down a different path to crystallization

Lasers measure jet disintegration

Croatian rivers face hydroelectric peril

New membranes can remove viruses from drinking water

Ukraine's Mariupol to be without hot water for months

Fewer sharks equals fatter fish, research shows

Reindeer at risk from Arctic hot spell

Methane seeps in the Canadian high Arctic

How polar bears find their prey

Arctic river ice deposits rapidly disappearing

Sat nav for bread wheat uncovers hidden genes

Nearly two billion people depend on imported food

World Bank, Amundi launch $2 bn green bond fund

Cold snap threatens French vines

Nepal quake injured stalked by disability two years on

Report identifies grand challenges to better prepare for volcanic eruptions

At least 11 killed in Colombia floods: Red Cross

At least 16 killed in Colombia floods: government

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti

Morocco, US stage joint military exercise

Gambia's race to save its 'Roots' on Kunta Kinteh island

South Sudan war strains Uganda's generous refugee policy

Indonesian hobbit evolved from African ancestor

Neuroscientists measure 'higher' state of consciousness

Putting social science modeling through its paces

Science says: Let a stranger pick your profile picture

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement