PETITION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE RIVER UGAR
The Governments of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Republic of Srpska have agreed on the joined construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the river Ugar. The works have already started. The only thing left for the Governments is to agree on the location of the company’s head office.
The Founding Committee of the World Association of the Citizens of the City of Jajce and Jajce Municipality, the sport anglers’ associations, ecological movements and hiking clubs of Jajce and Travnik, have initiated the signing of a petition, in which we demand from both Governments, the Council of Ministers, the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Elektroprivreda B&H, HZ HB the suspension of construction of the hydroelectric power plant on the river Ugar. The signing of the petition will start at the Lake Pliva on World Day for Water (In 1993 the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 as World Day for Water), and will continue in the towns of Jajce and Travnik, and on the Internet.
It is our opinion that the funds provided by the European Union for the construction of hydro electric power plant on the river Ugar should be redirected to the protection of the environment, wastewater treatment, and to promotion of healthy food production and development of tourist activities in this mountainous region. Instead of accepting the proposed power plant which would cost our environment dearly and in return provide the employment for only a small number of workers, we as a society should strive for permanent protection of our natural environment, for ecologically healthy food production and for the promotion and development of tourism.
The river Ugar is approximately 45 kilometers long, a significant part of which is a 17 kilometers long canyon. This gorge, which is among the deepest in Europe, will be completely submerged if the hydroelectric power plant is constructed.
It is paradoxical that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina declares this area as a natural treasure, and then immediately decides to destroy this treasure by constructing a hydroelectric power plant on it! We therefore demand from the investors the proof that this project is ecologically and climatologically justified. This proof must be presented in an unbased report, based on a proper scientific study.
Deciding the fate of the river Ugar cannot be the exclusive right of the two Governments and the Electric Power Company (Elektroprivereda). The word of science must be heard, as well as all citizens, environmentalists, sports fishermen, hikers, etc., because the river Ugar is a national treasure owned by all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
By the construction of the hydroelectric power plant on the river Ugar the investors would obtain a quick profit, but the damage to us all and to the future generations would be permanent. We would be left without one of the most beautiful canyons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our unique hydro-geomorphologic and biological heritage would be destroyed. Several endemic and indigenous species of flora and fauna would perish.
Taken into consideration the irreparable permanent damage inflicted upon the nature and all of us, there is no such a thing as “cheap power”. We have inherited Ugar, other rivers and all of the nature from our ancestors, and it is our duty to preserve them for our children and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, the destruction of the river Ugar has already began in recent decades, and it continues rapidly after the last war, through inadequate spatial planning and through the lack of care for the nature and its rarity. The water of the river Ugar is so polluted that the aquatic flora and fauna are largely destroyed. For this the ecologists and sports anglers blame mostly the dumping of untreated wastewater by Sports and Recreation Center Babanovac. This contamination with organic materials and nitrates and phosphates from washing and cleaning agents, has caused a real environmental disaster. The river Ugar has lost the indigenous species of salmonide fish, namely grayling (lipljen - Thymallus thymallus), trout (pastrmka - Salmo trutta) and huchen (mladica - Hucho hucho).
With intelligent implementation of policies of revitalization, preservation and improvement of natural environment, noble types of salmonides can return to Ugar. But if the construction of the hydroelectric power plants is not prevented, the canyon of Ugar will be lost forever. Natural spawning sites of trout, grayling and huchen will be permanently destroyed. Consequently, the survival of these species in the existing accumulation dam Bočac will be severely compromised.
We have to point out that a similar situation can appear at the river "Vrbas" and other streams like Šedinac and Rika, because of plans about building dams at the rivers and streams.
Bearing this in mind, we ask the citizens, the environmental movement, sport anglers, hikers and all nature lovers to sign this petition and thereby to categorically demand the suspension of the construction of the hydroelectric power plant in the canyon of the river Ugar, Vrbas and all the streams. Let us preserve this gem of Nature forever.
The Founding Committee of the World Association of the Citizens of the City of Jajce and Jajce Municipality, the sport anglers’ associations, ecological movements and hiking clubs of Jajce and Travnik...