Major Investments Coming to Water Management System

By 7 September 2018

ZAGREB, September 7, 2018 - The 142nd anniversary of organised water management in Croatia and the national Waters Day were marked at a ceremony held at the Hrvatske Vode water management company on Friday.

Speakers at the event underlined that water was the resource of the 21st century and that it was important to keep sovereignty over water resources.

A conference focusing on climate change will be held as part of events marking the Hrvatske Vode anniversary and Waters Day.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that close to 90% of Croatia's population was connected to the public water supply system while 50% was connected to the sewer network. He underlined the importance of raising those standards.

The global demand for water is expected to rise by 50% compared to the current situation while in industries that increase will be 400%.

Croatia is among leading countries in Europe in terms of drinking water reserves and that is our strategic resource which we need to manage cleverly and do our best to protect it in the best possible way, said Plenković.

Speaking of projects related to water management, Plenković called for preparing them in the best possible way and making the most of available EU funds for that purpose as well as raising water management efficiency to the highest possible level.

Hrvatske Vode director Zoran Đuroković said that in the context of climate change the company was working on identifying shortcomings in the flood protection system and improving it. He said that Hrvatske Vode had prepared 120 million euro worth of projects for flood protection in Karlovac and Sisak areas alone, that those projects would be possible to implement with the EU's support but that the preparation of documentation had to be stepped up.

Energy and Environmental Protection Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that his ministry, too, was involved in preparing and implementing projects aimed at developing the system of disaster and flood risk management in Croatia's biggest river basins, for which it had 215 million euro from EU funds at its disposal.

Intensive work is underway on a project to upgrade dams along the Sava River from Račinovci to Nova Gradiška, which is estimated at 49.5 million euro and is expected to be approved soon.

Another project that is being prepared concerns flood protection in the area of Ogulin and it is worth 14.5 million euro, and preparations are also under way for a flood protection project for the Kupa River basin, worth 120 million euro, Ćorić said.

As for irrigation, the construction of new irrigation systems and the repair of the existing ones has enabled the irrigation of some 22,500 hectares of farmland. The Energy and Environmental Protection Ministry has secured additional funds to prepare documentation for irrigation projects for an area of 28,000 hectares, said Ćorić.

So far, 35 water management projects worth 1.7 billion euro have been approved, with the EU contribution totalling 985 million euro, within an operational programme for the improvement of the public water supply system, the sewage network and wastewater processing. The biggest problem in water supply is the loss of water from the public water supply system, which is due to the system being old and lack of investments in it, said Ćorić.