Improvement of the management of the Vardar River Basin
Countries: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece
Client/Funding: European Agency for Reconstruction / EC CARDS 2003 project No. 03MAC01/10/104
Duration: Jan 2006 – Jul 2007
The project objective was to improve quality of water resources shared by Greece and the fYR Macedonia, i.e. the Vardar river and the Dojran lake, so as to progress towards compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). Among the specific objectives were:
- Establishment of regular arrangements through which the FYR Macedonia and Greece would cooperate regarding (i) the preparation of a joint river basin management plan,(ii) operational issues regarding river management, and (iii) warnings of emergency events (floods and accidental spillages).
- Identification of the reasons for the lowering of Lake Dojran and potential measures to recover lake levels and improve water quality.
- Establishment of regular monitoring arrangements and exchange of monitoring information on all measurable elements of the water balance of Vardar/Axios and Lake Dojran between FYR Macedonia and Greece.
- Calculation of the river basin's water balance.
- Compilation of an inventory of the most important industrial pollution sources in the Vardar River catchment and required actions to improve the quality of emissions from key polluters.
- Preparation of an analysis of water resources of the Vardar/Axios River.
- Inventory of water demands in the river basin (drinking water supply, irrigation, industry, environment, recreation, etc.)
- Analysis of the combined effects of river pollution from all sources (not just industries) and river management practises (abstractions and operation of reservoirs).
- Provision of an overview of the importance of water flows and quality to fisheries in the Vardar River basin.
- An assessment of groundwater monitoring arrangements in the Vardar River basin adjacent to the border with Greece and recommendations for any necessary improvements.
- Analysis of options for improved operational management of the Vardar River.
- Preparation of a River Basin Management Plan for the Vardar River in line with the requirements of the EU Framework Water Directive.
- Planning the management measures programme, including potential measures to recover Lake Dojran levels, in accordance with specific objective b.
- Improvement of the understanding within FRY Macedonia of international water law and its application to transboundary water sharing and protection.
- Completion of the Joint River Basin Management Plan for the Vardar/Axios River Basin.
Tasks carried out by Environmental Institute:
- Overall responsibility for all water quality management parts of the project;
- Design of a new monitoring network and proposal of the related institutional changes;
- Implementation of the leading priority measures of the development plan such as a coordination mechanism for interinstitutional cooperation, stakeholders involvement and cross border cooperation;
- Coordination of the parallel NATO funded project MIRVAX, having similar objectives, with the CARDS 2003 project;
- Responsible for design, organization and evaluation of the Vardar Field Survey covering screening and investigative monitoring of all WFD parameters.