If Montenegro does not do something soon, Cijevna could be lost forever

If Montenegro does not do something soon, Cijevna could be lost forever

Podgorica, 29.06.2019. – Today, during a field visit to the Cijevna River in the cross-border section with Albania, Green Home representatives witnessed intensive works on the construction of hydropower facilities. It is about two hydroelectric power plants with serious capacities, where one in the upper stream (Cijevna Selčanska) was started according to information from the information board on May 15, 2019, the construction of which will last 24 months and includes two main water intakes and several additional diversions of tributaries. The second hydropower plant downstream, which is in the final stage of development (Tamara settlement), uses the flow technique of lateral water capture, which is used for larger hydropower plants of 5-10MW installed capacity and higher. In the installed pipes with a diameter of about 130 cm, on a length of about 2.3 km and more, the volume of water is about 3000 m3 of water, which will capture almost the entire amount of water from Cijevna during the water period (the average multi-year flow at the measuring station Trgaj is 24.9 m3/s). Small hydros on other tributaries, such as the Cijevna Vuklitska, are not included here, which additionally multiply the impacts on the lower course of the Cijevna.

It is a devastating fact that the competent ministries and professional institutions of Montenegro, after one year, do not want to initiate serious proceedings at the international level against Albanian institutions that openly violate regulations on cross-border impacts on the environment and informing the public. Although the government and relevant ministries have all the mechanisms in their hands – starting from the possibility of initiating international arbitration in accordance with the Framework Agreement on water management relations between Montenegro and Albania, opening a case before the Secretariat of the Energy Community or cases before the Secretariat of the Berne or ESPOO Convention.

We remind you that in February 2019, Green Home, at the Ministerial meeting on the transition of the countries of the Western Balkans to clean energy, asked an open question to the representative of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania about the development of small hydros in Cijevna, to which we received the answer that all works were suspended because the documentation for the projects was insufficient, and that the assessments of the impact of these interventions on the environment, once they are done, will be sent to Montenegro. We have not received the information until today, until the works stop. Pipes have already been buried in the riverbed, placed on supporting bridges, concreted intakes and dams, and work is being carried out on the machinery building, after which the river will finally be restored.

We expect the Government of Montenegro to organize an urgent expert visit to the field, initiate international arbitration and use all other mechanisms at its disposal in order to prevent and minimize the impacts that the small hydro will bring to the protected area of ​​Cijevna in Montenegro. It is extremely important to urgently determine the hydrological, physical-chemical and ecological zero state of the Cijevna river in the most upstream part as a reference state for monitoring sensitive underground and surface waters, which are threatened with disappearance with the drying of parts of the river bed.


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