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Waters in Sensitive Transboundary Areas

The Second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters (UNECE, 2011) has shown that the countries of South-Eastern Europe, including Croatia and its neighbouring countries, are faced with an increasingly pressing issue of sustainable use of transboundary water resources.

This assessment has pointed to the fact that the cooperation between the neighbouring countries concerning the use and protection of water resources is mostly very poor, primarily due to complex political relations in the region, as well as due to financial restrictions, insufficient institutional capacities, poor exchange of information and data on shared water resources, and – in some cases – due to conflicting interests of the neighbouring countries. Under such circumstances, the limited water resources become the source of local and regional tensions, which is particularly marked in the countries poor in water. This problem is particularly evident in karst regions, where the natural vulnerability of aquifers is very high, and the quantities of water vary dramatically, with a marked minimum in the summer period when the water demand is the highest because of the tourist season. Even though the implementation of the Water Framework Directive has had a significant positive impact on water management and protection, additional efforts by all relevant institutions, both international and national, are required in order to ensure rational and equitable management of transboundary water resources in the long run. How to achieve that is one of the key questions of this conference.