Horizon 2020 wastewater management workshop in the “home of the karst”

on 09 April 2012.

Split, Croatia hosted a Horizon 2020 workshop on “Linking waste water management to ICZM and IWRM with emphasis on karstic coastal areas”. More than 30 professionals from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro gathered in the area known as the “home of the karst” to participate at the four-day sub regional training on 19-22 March 2012.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the ENPI Horizon 2020 CB/MEP project, by the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and in partnership with the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) of the United Nations Environment Programme/ Mediterranean Action Plan.

Acknowledging the need for thorough understanding of the very vulnerable to pollution karst environment in the region, the course succeeded to improve this knowledge and the interconnectivity between surface and groundwater in karstic areas. It tapped on the issues of relevant regulatory frameworks, precautionary measures and technical solutions for wastewater treatment in karstic areas. Trainees learned about degrees of vulnerability of karst water resources and their sustainable use and elaborated on the sensitivity of karstic media in terms of spatial/physical planning. The trainees were wastewater managers, decision makers from central and local authorities, university staff and professionals from the private sector.

To provide first hand knowledge of the karst environment, the course included two field trips to some of the most important karst locations in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants visited the karstic springs of the rivers Jadro and Zrnovnica, which are believed to be hydro-geologically connected although this issue has not been thoroughly investigated yet. On the second day, the trip included a visit to the catchment of River Cetina, which lies between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Peruca, the first large reservoir constructed in karst. The trainees also visited Bushko Blatoin Bosnia, the largest reservoir of the river Cetina, also featuring a powerful hydroelectric plant.     

Merita Dollma, Professor and researcher at the Department of Geography, University of Tirana, stated “This training helped me understand the importance and complexity of the karstic zones. The scientific basis of the training and the field trips highlighted the economic and ecological value of karstic aquifers and the importance of their protection and better management in the future. Transboundary cooperation and common projects are two of the key elements that will help to depollute karstic areas as was clearly depicted through presented case studies. As a conclusion, I must say that I am going back home with new ideas”.