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Заедничка Акција за Одржлива Иднина
Veprojmë së bashku për një të ardhme të qëndrueshme
Zajednička akcija za održivu budućnost
Συντονισμένη Δράση για ένα Βιώσιμο Μέλλον
Coordinated Action for a Sustainable Future

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Pressures, status, transboundary impacts & responses

The Black Drin sub-basin, in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is mainly covered by forests (52%) and agricultural land (16%).

The significance of the Drin River and its main tributaries in terms of hydropower production is major, especially for Albania, where plants installed produce 85% of hydropower, and represent 70% of the total hydro and thermal installed capacity in the country. In Albania, there are 44 dams (4 for energy production and 40 for irrigation purposes). The construction of the Ashta hydropower plant began in 2009 near Skadar/ Shkoder, with capacity downscaled to 40 megawatts (MW) from the original 80 MW, after consultations with Montenegro. There are plans for the construction of an additional plant (Skavica, planned installed capacity of 350 MW), — the process for the expression of interest was initiated in 2008. Two major dams, Globochica and Spilja, exist on the Black Drin in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with a main purpose of hydropower production. The alteration of the hydrological characteristics of the Drin, due to dam construction, has had an impact in the distribution of sediments, and caused disturbances to the ecosystems supported. Biological corridors that facilitate migration have been interrupted, exerting major pressure on biodiversity.

Open-cast metal (iron and nickel) mines in Albania were closed a long time ago, but the sites have not been landscaped, and tailings continue to cause heavy metal pollution (iron, copper etc.); there is no available data regarding the level of pollution.

Abstraction of groundwater in Kosovo (1) and waste disposal, sanitation and sewer leakage in Albania are the main pressure factors as far as Beli Drim/Drini Bardhe aquifer is concerned. Nitrogen, pesticides and pathogens (only locally in Albania) have been observed.

In the Black Drin sub-basin, in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, there is extensive cattle production. The intensive tourism around lakes Ohrid and Prespa and in the National Park Mavrovo is another pressure factor. The expected increase in water demand in the Black Drin sub-basin catchment area for drinking water, irrigation and fisheries will result in increased pressure on the system.

Considerable nutrient loads are transported into the Adriatic Sea via the Drin and Buna/Bojana rivers. Whereas agriculture is the main source of nitrogen and phosphorus in the river system as a whole, the source distribution varies geographically. In the lower parts of the drainage system, in the Buna River, most of the phosphorus load derives from agriculture, however, sewage is more important in the upper parts.

The great number of illegal dumpsites is of particular concern in Albania and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Discharge and water level are being monitored at nine gauging stations in the Black Drin catchment area in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; quantity and quality monitoring of the groundwater in the country needs to be improved.

Numerous measures are needed with regard to Beli Drim/Drini Bardhe aquifer; priority should be given to monitoring groundwater quantity and quality, detailed hydrogeological and vulnerability mapping, delineation of protection zones, construction of wastewater treatment facilities as well as to public awareness campaigns.


1. References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

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