Serbia and Montenegro


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This is the old country page for Serbia and Montenegro. In June 2006, the country of Serbia and Montenegro split into the two independent countries of Serbia and Montenegro.

Relevant information has been moved to the new updated separate country pages of Serbia and Montenegro. We shall however keep this page for archival purposes.





Ramsar mission report for Serbia and Montenegro available now (Dec 2005): following substantial declines in waterbird counts at Montenegro's Lake Skadar Ramsar site, and questions about illegal building, poaching, and industrial pollution within the national park and the effects of planned peat extraction, the government authorities invited a Ramsar expert to assess the situation and offer advice. The mission's report is now available.

Overview of Water Resources

-> General Country Information

Serbia and Montenegro has an annual water flow of about 1,500 m3 per capita, which classifies it among the water-poor areas of Europe. Water supply flow is seasonally uneven. The annual average precipitation in Yugoslavia is 734 mm, but there are wide variations. In Serbia annual precipitation varies from 550–650 mm in Vojvodina to 800–1200 mm in the mountainous regions. All the lower areas of Serbia, including the lower Drina basin, have a precipitation of below 800 mm/year. Montenegro has an abundant precipitation of about 2000 mm/year, on average, and locally up to 5500 mm/year, with a maximum of 8500 mm/year. Internally renewable water resources are limited, since about 84% of the available water resources originate outside Serbia and Montenegro. The yearly groundwater reserves total about 244 m3 per capita.

Low quality and shortage of drinking water increasingly affects populations in smaller cities and rural areas, and to a lesser extent those of the major urban centres. Supply and quality of piped drinking water in small urban areas in Serbia have deteriorated in recent years due to lack of sufficient management and reinvestments, whereas rural communities continue to rely on uncontrolled private wells or piped community systems of which 90 per cent do not meet bacteriological standards. A consequence is an increased number of water-borne diseases (especially shigellosis) and a higher incidence of diarrhoeal diseases among children with school children being at particular risk.

Access to Safe Water

According to the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Serbia (Belgrade, 2003), "Health status data indicate that in Serbia water related diseases are not a significant contributor to the burden of chronic or acute disease (WHO, 2000; UNICEF, 2001). Mortality among infants and children under five, a common indicator of water supply and sanitation conditions, has declined by one half during the 1990s and is associated with improved household sanitation and improved treatment for diarrhoea and acute respiratory disease. The under-five mortality rate for diarrhoea declined by 38.2% during the 1990-97 period (UNICEF 2001). However there are some indications that the situation is changing. Deterioration in the situation of drinking water may well reverse the positive trend in under-five mortality rate. Recent epidemiological studies on health and environment have found linkages between living conditions, drinking water quality and health. The situation is particularly acute for urban slums, populated by refugees, Roma and IDPs, as they lack the resources to purchase bottled water."

Statistical evidence regarding the access to safe water and sanitation can be found in the vulnerability survey undertaken by UNDP/BRC, whereby disparities emerges significantly between the majority population and the Roma. I am reporting here data related to south-eastern Europe, but also data disaggregated at the country level are available on the website.

Share of population not having acces to:

  • improved sanitation: 22% (Majority population in close proximity to Roma) / 72% (Roma) / 27% (IDP's / Refugees)
  • improved water source: 6% / 22% / 7%



National: Regional:

Establishing Mechanisms for Integrated Management of Land and Water Resources in the Tisza River Basin


World Bank, Montenegro - Tara and Lim River Basin Watershed Management

World Bank - Montenegro Tourism Development Project


Serbia and Montenegro Wastewater Country Profile

Serbia and Montenegro Sanitation Country Profile

Serbia and Montenegro Freshwater Country Profile

Environmental Performance Review Chapter 5 Management of Water Resources in Serbia and Montenegro

Stuck in the Past

Field assessment mission of UNDP to the flooded areas in Vojvodina, 10 May 2005

Water Resources Management in South Eastern Europe, The World Bank (2003)

Resources and Links

Danube Pollution Case Study
(American University) - Case Study on Cleaner production approaches in the Danube River Basin (from Paola Pagliani)

Useful addresses

GEF Operational Focal Point
Mr.Mihailo Djukic

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