Water Supply Issues in Kosovo - OSCE 2008 Report

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Publication Title

Water Supply Issues in Kosovo

Publication Type

Report by the OSCE Monitoring Department

Author(s)

Publication Date

July 2008

ISBN-ISSN-EAN

Publication URL

Contact

Contents

Summary

In the summer of 2007, the Municipal Teams of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo reported on human rights and community issues with regard to severe water shortages throughout Kosovo, raising serious concerns on the supply and access to water for all communities. To raise awareness of the problem, the OSCE organized work shops, distributed leaflets on water conservation, and engaged in other activities, often together with KFOR and UNMIK representatives.

Although the water supply situation in the subsequent year(s) wasn't as problematic as in 2007, it is still far from being satisfactory and according to this report likely to result in a repeated precarious situations. Bearing in mind many different risks, such as drier winters, health risks linked with the contamination of water sources, and the bad condition of much of the water infrastructure, the situation in Kosovo urgently needs to be addressed.

However, effective mechanisms or long-term planning have not been established at the municipal or regional level[1]. This could not only again lead to the infringement of human rights as regards access to water, but also to problems on the political level, as measures to limit access to water could be highly disputed. Though the OSCE in its 2008 report could not identify patterns with regard to discrimination based on ethnicity, this issue could become acute in case of future water shortages.

The OSCE also observed that Kosovo municipalities are not adequately prepared to tackle acute water shortages. Especially rural areas do not have access to running water but are dependent on local wells and springs with questionable water quality. The municipalities seem not to be sufficiently aware of their responsibilities as well as of the risks and dangers they might be facing in the future. Furthermore, most of the Kosovo municipalities in 2008 still were highly dependent on support from KFOR and international donors to implement necessary water projects.

With all this in mind, the OSCE publishes this report to raise awareness of the responsible authorities in Kosovo and to initiate a constructive discussion on how to deal with water shortage problems in the long-term and in a sustainable and responsible manner. The report also shortly mentions potential regional co-operation as regards the management of water resources and the prospects of water management after the closing down of the Kosovo Trust Agency, which was responsible until June 2008. This report first gives an update regarding the situation in spring-summer 2008 and informs about the municipal authorities’ perspective and their ability to cope with possible water shortages in the future. It then explains the role of regional water companies, provides a risk assessment, and gives recommendations on how international and local actors could raise awareness of the recurrent water supply problems in Kosovo. In some chapters, the report specifically focuses on Prishtinë/Priština, as this region faces particular challenges through the concentration of the population, the ongoing population growth, and the building boom.

The most significant findings of the OSCE 2008 Report suggest

  • a steadily increasing demand for water combined with a low and insufficient water supply,
  • the lack of waste water treatment and its medium-term consequences to the ground water,
  • uncertain developments in the administration and supervision of the regional water companies,
  • the unsettled distribution of water competencies,
  • an old and decrepit water infrastructure, and
  • an alarming payment behaviour

Content

Table of Content

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Flashback: severe water shortages in summer 2007
  3. Update: preparedness of the municipalities in spring 2008
    1. Kosovo’s water reservoirs and management, situation May 2008
    2. Level of awareness in the municipalities and measures taken
  4. Legal framework
    1. Competences for water management Kosovo
  5. Risk assessment
    1. Higher demand
    2. Environmental factors
    3. Financial restrictions
    4. Risk of chain reaction
    5. Political risks
  6. The importance of regional and cross-national co-operation
  7. Conclusions and recommendations

References

  1. Water Supply Issues in Kosovo - OSCE 2008 Report

See also

Kosovo

External Resources

Attachments

 Water supply issue in kosovo-osce.pdf

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