13:50 / 22.03.2023.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Croatia tops EU for freshwater resources



Foto: Hrvoje Jelavic / Pixsell

Today is World Water Day, and with an average of 29,200 cubic metres per capita, Croatia tops the EU ranking for freshwater resources, ahead of Finland and Sweden, according to the EU statistical office Eurostat.

"Underground streams are of particular importance to us because they provide over 90% of water for human consumption," the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said.

Croatia has achieved a high level of availability of water for human consumption, as 94% of its population has access to the public water supply system. On the other hand, only 57% have access to the public drainage system, which is not enough and should be improved, the Ministry added.

Under the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, 60 Croatian municipal water management projects have been approved. The value of the projects is €3.5 billion, of which €1.9 billion are grants.

Of these projects, two are related solely to public water supply - the Osijek regional water supply system, which has been completed, and the Zagreb East regional water supply system, which is ongoing. The development of public water supply is also included in other projects, representing 20% of their total value.

Investments in the water supply system are being implemented through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026, for which purpose €137.9 million has been allocated. About €100 million has been awarded so far.

The Ministry says that a major challenge to public water supply in Croatia is considerable water losses, which amount to about 238 million cubic metres annually, or 49.8%. For that reason, a national action plan is being developed to reduce losses in the public water supply systems across the country. An estimated €1.5 billion will be needed for this purpose over the next 15 years.

World Water Day is marked on 22 March. This year the focus is on Goal 6 of the UN Agenda 2030, which aims to ensure access to drinking water and sanitation for all as well as sustainable water management.

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