A big NO for hydropower plants on Vrbas river – the second act
After more than 10 years The Center for Environment is, once again, against building a hydropower plant on the Vrbas River. United with the local community, we attended an ‘on the scene investigation’ of the technical conditions required for the construction of hydropower plant “Krupa”. Around 20 local residents, several camera crews, experts participating in the design of the project and investors gathered at the bridge in Krmine on Thursday, the 30th of November at 11 o’clock. The crowd agreed that the discussion/investigation should take place in the local community halls of Krupa and for the project experts to make a brief presentation of the required technical conditions.
The HPP Krupa (14 MW) project would require the construction of a 18 to 20 meter-long dam and the relocation of the highway for 10 kilometers from the left to the right bank of Vrbas, specifically from the bridge in Krmine to the hydropower plant “Bočac 2”. According to the investors it would cost 56 million euros, where 10 million would go towards the relocation of the highway and the two bridges.
A large number of local residents pleaded that they don’t want a new HPP on Vrbas and that they will not give their land for the construction of this plant. They are aware that they don’t experience any benefits from HPP “Bočac 1” and “Bočac 2” (which is already being built). Therefore they won’t have any benefits from this plant either. They believe it does them more harm than good.
“We find that this project, even though it is conducted on the Krupa, a really harmful thing for Banja Luka city, Republika Srpska, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The large change in elevation and the great ability of the Vrbas river to purify water, due to the Grebenska gorge, would be endangered. The quality of water would be reduced, and it would endanger the water provision of Banja Luka citizens. Further, it would lead to the extinction of mladica fish, one of the most important and most endangered species in the area, and endemic to the Dunav basin.”, said Viktor Bjelić from the Centre for Environment to the press.
The Director of “HPP Vrbas” stated that they will drop this project if local communities are against it.
Jelena Ivanić, Center for Environment: “Today we found out that after the construction of this hydropower plant would follow the construction of the next HPP ‘Grbići’, downstream from Krupa on the Vrbas. This tells us that in a few years Vrbas would turn into a big lake. These hydropower plants will surely lower the water quality, destroy biodiversity and negatively impact on people’s lives. By ending the Krupa hydropower plant, we will stop the potential construction of the next.”
The Centre for Environment’s request for information about the project idea for HPP Krupa has not been answered by “HPP Vrbas”. This request was made in 2016. The mayor of Banja Luka, Igor Radojičić and the Ministry of Ecology in charge are not aware of this project. Citizens must be informed about all plans so they could adequately participate in decision-making which is their right by local laws and the Aarhus convention.
The Coalition for the Protection of the Vrbas has gathered more than 17 000 citizen signatures since 2005. They specifically said ‘No.’ to building HPP on Vrbas, whereupon the Parliament of Banja Luka city gave a negative opinion about the former project. We believe that this time even more citizens and the Parliament of Banja Luka city should say NO to all new hydropower plants and YES to enforcement of energy efficiency in existing plants.
Link of the interview Elta TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoop7tz_aYQ&t=3s
Contact: Viktor Bjelić, firstname.lastname@example.org