JULY 24 2012 16:11h
The global non-governmental organisation for nature conservation, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), warned on Tuesday that the planned construction of hydroelectric power plants in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina would adversely affect the Neretva river basin and delta and the population living by the river.
The WWF coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zoran Mateljak, said at a press conference in Zagreb that the construction of hydroelectric power plants Dubrovnik II, Ombla and Dabar-Gornji Horizonti would cause salinisation of the delta and total disappearance of agricultural production in that area.
"Agricultural production in the Neretva Valley which sustains 20,000 people in that area depends on the water regime of the Neretva, and underground streams that feed the river are in danger from the proposed projects because they would reduce the flow of fresh water to farmland," said Nebojsa Jerkovic, head of the Metkovic-based agricultural cooperative of Croatian Homeland War veterans, Modro Zelena.
Irma Popovic Dujmovic of the WWF Mediterranean Program said that, by ignoring the conservation of the Neretva, Croatia was violating eight international environmental protection conventions, including the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance, as well as the EU Water Framework Directive.
The WWF called on the governments of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to suspend the planned projects until an environmental impact study was drawn up and a plan for the management of the Neretva and Trebisnjica rivers was adopted. (Hina)