This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Zelena akcija – FoE Croatia and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Zelena akcija – FoE Croatia and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Public debate on “Influence of hydro-power plants on biodiversity” held in Karlovac

On Wednesday, October 26th 2016 a public discussion entitled “Influence of hydro-power plants on biodiversity” was held in Karlovac, Croatia. The discussion was organized by Zelena akcija / FoE  Croatia and a local partner from Karlovac, Eko Pan, with the aim to further stress the need to preserve our rivers. Introductory speeches were given by […]

On Wednesday, October 26th 2016 a public discussion entitled “Influence of hydro-power plants on biodiversity” was held in Karlovac, Croatia. The discussion was organized by Zelena akcija / FoE  Croatia and a local partner from Karlovac, Eko Pan, with the aim to further stress the need to preserve our rivers. Introductory speeches were given by Dušan Jelić, Ph.D. from the Croatian Institute for Biodiversity, Irma Popović Dujmović from WWF Adria, Aljoša Duplić, Ph.D. from the Karlovac University of Applied Sciences, Nataša Crnković from the Center for Environment (Banja Luka) and, as host, Denis Frančišković from Eko Pan. The panel was moderated by Željka Leljak Gracin from Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia.

On the panel, which was very well attended, citizens had the opportunity to hear very interesting lectures on the effects of small hydropower plants on biodiversity, as well as on their other effects which are rarely spoken about.

In his introductory lecture, Denis Frančišković from Eko Pan presented the chronology of problems with small hydropower plants in the Karlovac County, while Željka Leljak Gracin from Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia warned that there is a similar problem at the national level with about 140 small hydropower plants being planned in Croatia.

Irma Popović Dujmović from WWF Adria referred to the main negative impacts of hydropower plants on biodiversity of river ecosystems. The main conclusion of this lecture was that small hydro power plants have the same or even greater negative impacts than large hydro power plants. The problem of cumulative impacts was especially emphasized as these small hydropower plants are often planned in series, several of them on the same river.

Aljoša Duplić, Ph.D. from the Karlovac University of Applied Sciences spoke of significant impacts of small hydropower plants on fish populations. As an example he particularly mentioned the case of the huchen (Hucho hucho) which had practically disappeared from its natural habitats following the construction of HPP Lešće on river Dobra and SHPP Ilovac on river Kupa. Mr. Duplić also challenged the thesis that small hydroelectric power plants mean just as small an impact. In his presentation, using numerous examples, he demonstrated how certain mitigation measures (like fish ladders) can in practice be completely non-functional. The aforementioned problem should be tackled in an interdisciplinary way which in Croatia, unfortunately, is still not the case.

In his presentation Dušan Jelić, Ph.D. from the Croatian Institute for Biodiversity highlighted a number of examples that show how studies and reports often contain incomplete and outdated data. Individual cases, among which the SHPP Ilovac on river Kupa stands out, demonstrate to what extent the effects of small hydropower plants are minimized or not estimated at all. The construction of SHPP Ilovac sank 5 waterfalls on the upstream side, while the impact study claimed that the water level will not change. Unfortunately, the entire profession that works in this field is degraded in this way, and it shows that investors in Croatia have a major impact on the final content and quality of documents.

In the last lecture, Nataša Crnković from the Center for Environment presented the problems with small hydropower plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with special reference to the successful campaign for preservation of river Sutjeska. With numerous problems which are largely identical to those in Croatia, Nataša particularly stressed the importance of involving local people and various experts in the fight for the preservation and protection of rivers.

Considering the possible negative consequences of small hydro power plants for river ecosystems, as well as the scale of plans for the construction of new HPPs in Croatia and the region, a broad public debate, education and consideration of problems from the viewpoints of various professions, represent a kind of necessity, but also a certain form of duty in accordance to today’s standards in environmental protection.

 

31.10.2016.