On Friday November 3rd, 2023, the hybrid consultation workshop of the 2nd revision of the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) of Epirus Region was held at the Technical Chamber’s Hall in Ioannina and online.
MedINA actively participated in the consultation through its Freshwater Programme Manager, Alexandra Pappa, who gave an online presentation on the Aoos River issues, and the Local Coordinator for the Aoos River, Dimitris Papageorgiou, who attended the meeting in person. Our team first discussed MedINA’s role in the Aoos River Basin from 2012 to date, and then listed many of the pressures and threats confronting the Aoos River, its tributaries Sarantaporos and Voidomatis, and their respective streams. Finally, we proposed the inclusion of specific measures in the Epirus RBMP to address the challenges encountered by both the Aoos River Basin and other water bodies in the region.
Specifically, our intervention addressed the following issues:
- mpending irreversible hydromorphological alterations in the Aoos River Basin due to the installation of 48 Small Hydropower Plants (SHPPs), which at the same time undermine efforts to establish Europe’s first transboundary wild river park, the Aoos/Vjosa.
- The lack of reference in the RBMP of Epirus to the proposals of the Special Environmental Study 11a, which characterises the unprotected part of the Aoos River Basin, i.e. the Aoos – Sarantaporos – Voidomatis – Vourkopotamos area outside the Northern Pindos National Park, as an ecological corridor, recognising the importance of the area for the free movement of species, sediments and matter.
- An imminent plan for the demarcation and regulation of 65 km of the Aoos River and 20 km of the Voidomatis River by the Municipality of Konitsa, in the name of flood control, a globally recognised wrong practice that belongs to the distant past.
- The Konitsa Irrigation Dam, which has no ecological flow during the summer months and no fish passage.
- The Aoos Springs hydroelectric dam, which has no ecological flow throughout the year.
- The Konitsa landfill, which repeatedly pollutes surface and ground water.
- The lack of reference in the RBMP of Epirus to the guidelines of the European Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 and the new Nature Restoration Law on inland waters and in particular river systems, which aim to restore 25,000 km of European rivers by removing barriers such as dams, weirs, diversions, etc.
The workshop was organised by the Decentralised Administration of Epirus – Western Macedonia in cooperation with the General Directorate of Freshwater of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and coordinated by the Sympraxis team.
The deadline for stakeholders and citizens to participate in the public consultation on the 2nd revision of the Greek RBMPs through written submissions is 30 November 2023. To participate in the consultation, follow the link: http://wfdver.ypeka.gr/el/consultation-gr/2revision-consultation-gr/ and select the water region of your interest.