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News Montenegro commits to maintain enough water for nature in its rivers

A new by-law, requiring that enough water is left in rivers to sustain ecosystems, was passed in Montenegro recently (Official Gazette RCG 2/2016 -14.01.2016). The result follows years of work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, under the leadership of the NGO Green Home and WWF.

The law concerns the “ecologically acceptable surface water flow”, which is the amount of water left in an aquatic ecosystem, or released into it, for the specific purpose of maintaining or achieving a good ecological condition.
‘’The concept of ecologically acceptable surface water flow is a way of including nature itself as a user of water. This is to secure the services that those ecosystems usually provide for free and that are often neglected, like water purification and flood protection‘’, said Nataša Kovačević, NGO Green Home executive director.

To establish the best methodology for Montenegro and develop a ‘Rulebook’ – a series of rules and regulations – Green Home and WWF engaged a multidisciplinary team of experts. They developed a general procedure and methodology for ecologically acceptable flow assessment which was later transformed into a by-law proposal.

“The previous water law prescribed a ‘biological minimum’, which required releasing 10% of the average minimum water flow of the total water amount downstream of water barriers. This approach did not take into account seasonal flow variations, and the real needs of downstream biocenosis and fish species”, said Francesca Antonelli, freshwater manager for WWF Mediterranean.

The new Rulebook prescribes the adoption of two different approaches depending on the importance of the water body. For rivers of no or little significance from a biodiversity point of view the requirement is less stringent, while for wetlands or other water bodies which are of national ecological importance the requirements are more demanding.

Here you can find the Rulebook in Montenegrin language (page 27).

Here you can find the Rulebook in English language.

Contact information Email:
News type Inbrief
File link
File link local Rulebook_on_Environmental_Flow.pdf (PDF, 107 Kb)
Source of information WWF
Geographical coverage Montenegro
News date 08/03/2016
Working language(s) ENGLISH