WWF`s project Alpine Rivers aims to ensure protection of Alpine river stretches of Soča, Sava and Savinja rivers in Slovenia that are under threat by hydropower development and unsustainable use of resources. This will be achieved through promotion of integrated water resource management, strategic planning of hydropower development and providing legal protection of high conservation value areas of Alpine rivers in Slovenia. WWF will also work with local communities to raise their awareness about detrimental effects of hydropower plants on rivers and freshwater ecosystems in the Alps region.
The project is based on three pillars:
- Understanding of pressures and impacts
Research activities will be undertaken to improve knowledge and understanding of the pressures and conservation needs in the Alpine river basins. This includes a comprehensive analysis of conservation pressures, including hydropower, assessment of restoration potential and mitigation needs, and analysis of drivers and impacts of hydropower development in Alpine river basins in Slovenia.
- Nature protection measures
Measures that will lead to conservation of the most valuable areas of Alpine river basins in Slovenia will be proposed and developed together with the governmental institutions, such as mapping and designation of high conservation value areas or leveraging of ecosystem services in decision-making. WWF will also use all participation opportunities to influence development plans to protect high conservation value areas, such as spatial planning, energy strategies, water management, flood protection and water infrastructure plans.
- Sustainable Hydropower solutions
Decision makers in Slovenia need to recognise that hydropower is not a green source by default. WWF supports a balanced hydropower development based on system scale planning and taking into account environmental needs. To ensure that high conservation value areas of Alpine rivers are kept free from hydropower development a “strategic pre-planning mechanism” for positioning hydropower plants on Alpine rivers needs to be developed together with relevant authorities, balancing hydropower with other renewable sources of energy.