When people decide to stand for rivers | WWF

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When people decide to stand for rivers

How two municipalities in Serbia and several rafting organizations from the region are taking decisive actions to stop small hydropower plants

That Balkan rivers are endangered by small hydropower expansion is now a common fact. Yet, WWF and its local partners in the Western Balkans are advancing the fight to stop this negative trend, committed to preserving Europe's last free-flowing rivers.

Previous weeks have seen several major developments. At the end of February, Požega Municipality in Serbia terminated a protocol contract with a private investor who planned to build 4 small hydropower plants (sHPP) in the area, sending a clear message for the protection of its riverine heritage.

Following in their footsteps, Arilje Municipality, also in Serbia, decided to stop issuing building permits for sHPP, preserving six rivers from destruction. As it was mentioned in the official decision, “until the adoption of the Amendments to the Spatial Plan, it is prohibited to produce any planning and urbanistic technical documents for the construction of small hydropower plants, i.e. for all small hydropower plants where the procedure for presenting planning documents before the Arilje Municipality hasn’t started.”

In the end, last Saturday, representatives of several rafting organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia met on the beautiful Pliva RIver in the town of Jajce to sign a declaration for the protection of rivers in the region. By signing the declaration, 12 organizations joined WWF’s campaign to stop subsidies for small hydro in the Western Balkans.

It doesn’t stop there, as more organizations and individuals join the cause, we are raising our collective voice for the wild and unspoiled Balkan rivers and myriad benefits they provide us. Stay tuned for more news!
Fly fishing on the Veliki Rzav River

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