A freshwater programme for everyone
Trillions of litres of fresh water flow throughout the Mediterranean, all part of a massive natural machine.
Each drop starts from a source and contributes to underground streams, mountain lakes, coastal lagoons, and closed basins of the Mediterranean freshwater ecosystem.
That same drop is responsible for supporting hundreds of thousands of people along its waterways, millions of birds, and the many endemic fish species in the area.
But right now a large percentage of the freshwater systems in the Mediterranean are either destroyed or threatened by inadequate water management.
To protect the future of the local people and the environment they live in, WWF aims to:
- protect important sites,
- promote and support integrated river basin management,
- support the improvement of water policies and management,
- capacitate the civil society to influence decision making processes,
- decrease the damage caused by existing infrastructures,
- promote sustainable hydropower planning and construction.
WWF’s strategy builds on approaches that readily adapt to the local context, especially to:
- identify threats to biodiversity at a catchment level,
- build capacity of key governmental and non-governmental local players,
- demonstrate practical, goal-oriented solutions in pilot projects.
WWF Mediterranean Freshwater Programme is thoroughly engaged in preserving the freshwaters of the Mediterranean in a number of key locations, from North Africa to Southeastern Europe.
Bosnia & Herzegovina Neretva & Trebisnjica rivers
The rivers Neretva and Trebisnjica are a fundamental resource for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and play an important role in neighbouring Croatia and Montenegro. Urban and industrial development, as well as agriculture and hydropower plants construction have affected and sometimes strongly damaged the area. With more dams being planned, WWF is engaged in researching and assessing what are the alternatives to dams, and which of these would represent and economic, environmental and social gain.read more
Bosnia & Herzegovina Livanjsko Polje
The Livanjsko Polje is still one of the best-preserved poljes of Bosnia & Herzegovina, but projects involving the draining of Zdralovac, a virgin mosaic of marsh and wet meadows, and large scale lignite excavation could have a devastating effect on the polje's complex hydrology and productive grasslands. WWF works to maintain the valuable Livansko Polje wetlands especially developing sustainable agricultural projects.read more
Montenegro Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar is the largest on the Balkan Peninsula. The bitter battles of the early 1990's forced the villagers in this area to fish for survival, depleted fish stocks and, lacking infrastructure for proper disposal, dumped rubbish in the lake. The government is now planning the building of new dams on the Moraca river, a major contributor to the lake. This raises high concern for the long-term availability of naturally pure water. WWF and its partners support the civil society and the government to maintain the rich biodiversity of this still relatively unspoiled lake while ensuring the lowest impact for dams.read more
Oued Sebou, one of Morocco's most important rivers is an important resource stretched beyond its capacity, mainly due to an extensive use of water for agriculture and industry. WWF works with the authorities and the civil society to improve the management of water resources in the region. In addition, WWF and its partner NGOs are advocating for more concern for the protection of natural resources in the framework of the political relationship between the EU and Morocco, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).read more
Second largest country in Africa, Algeria hosts key and diverse wetland habitats of high biological importance. But dams on some of the rivers have changed the natural wetland cycles. In addition, due to increasing demands for agriculture, woodlands are being cleared, laying the disturbed land open to erosion, while irrigation depletes groundwater. WWF is working with the Algerian government and the United Nation Development Programme to ensure a sound management plan for the wetlands complex of Les Guerbes. WWF is also working with the government, in collaboration with the French research center “Tour du Valat”, to prepare a national strategy for wetlands.read more
WWF's Freshwater Programme worldwide aims to ensure healthy ecosystems in the world's richest river basins, protect and sustainably manage representative wetlands and promote policies and techniques that conserve life in rivers and reduce poverty for dependent communities. WWF has been working for more than 40 years on water issues with diverse partners around the world. Nearly 300 projects actively address freshwater issues in more than 150 countries where overuse, mismanagement and scarcity make maintaining a clean, adequate supply a great challenge. Conserving wetlands and rivers as the source of clean and abundant water remains a priority along with restoring freshwater ecosystems and improving the livelihoods of dependent communities. In the last eight years, WWF has helped conserve up to 92 million hectares of wetlands critical to water, food and aquatic life in Niger, Peru, China and across Europe.
Created in 2003, the WWF Mediterranean Freshwater Programme is focussing its initial work on sites in two geographic priorities: the Balkan rivers and streams of Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia).
WWF is also present in the Mediterranean in key river basins in southern Spain (WWF Spain), central Turkey (WWF Turkey), Italy (WWF Italy), France (WWF France) and Greece (WWF Greece).