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Eko Bistro: Citizen's initiative to restore mountain Kruščica‘s former spatial plan without sHPP

Ecological society „Bistro“ from Vitez (Bosnia and Herzegovina) aims to launch a citizen's initiative with the cause of reverting the changes in mountain Kruščica‘s spatial plan and aborting further small hydro power plants developments in the area.

Since 2012 the river Kruščica and its people, the ones that live next to and with this beutiful river, have been under the menace of the construction of several small hydro power plants in its course – and the destruction it brings with it.

According to the 2005-2025 spatial plan of Vitez municipality, the area of mountain Kruščica is planned for conservation as a protected landscape. However, the protection regulated in this plan was changed in 2015 in relation with the area of river Kruščica, allowing the construction of two objects on it - small hydropower plants Kruščica 1 and Kruščica 2.

Fortunately, people of Krušnica did not remain silent: They knew how important the river is for them, for people in Vitez and Zenica who depend on this river's clean water, and for the next generations. They started with actions and resistence culminating in almost a year and a half of blocking the bridge leading to the planned construction site. This bridge is now referred to as the bridge of brave women of Krušnica.

Out of this movement in 2017, Eko-Bistro was formed as a citizens association to continue their fight for the protection of Kruščica‘s natural environment. One of their actions was the peaceful protest held in Travnik in november 2018, which you can see in this video and also in this video (BHS language).

Although big steps have been made, the sHPP menace in Kruščica is still present, as the current spatial plan still leaves space for the investors to build them. The real and long-lasting legal solution would be the withdrawal of modifications to the spatial plan that enabled construction of two HPPs on Kruščica.

While anticipating the ruling of District Court and also the Local Court in Travnik regarding this matter, Eko „Bistro“  wants the local community citizen's voice to be heard. In that sense, EkoBistro is starting a citizen‘s local initiative with the intention of returning the old spatial plan. In this context, EkoBistro will organize a public forum, for presenting and discussing the citizen's initiative in Vitez, as well as public info-stands and signature collection points in different locations around Vitez municipality.

SEENET needs to keep on supporting this local community in their perseverance and endurance. In this sense, the network will be supporting EkoBistro citizens‘ initiative financially through a „Support to SEENET network and members“ subgrant, as well as with messages and photos of support showing the wider spectrum of connection of environmental organizations. 

In the case of this river we have seen a great example of how local people can resist the investors plans and the local government and initiate common action with the same cause. River Kruščica is becoming a symbol of the fight for nature and human rights. With one battle already won their struggle is still present and necessary. As they stood up for Kruščica and their rights then, they are standing now with the same goal: Protect Kruščica and the rest of Bosnian-herzegovinian rivers from the current sHPP attack.

25.11.2019.