Irrigation Development in Serbia Under Water Framework Directive

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					 Irrigation Development in Serbia Under Water Framework Directive
                                 Slavisa Trajkovic, Srdjan Kolakovic
                             Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Nis
                                     Nis, Serbia and Montenegro

Abstract
Adoption of Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a turning point in development of European water
resources. For the first time in the history of Europe, a unified and uniform strategy for the
environment protection and water resources management was created. The goal of this paper is to
point at some new events in the irrigation development in Serbia resulting from the application of the
WFD. The application of the WFD can result in big changes in irrigation.
One of the goals of the WFD is rationalization of the water consumption, which in the countries with
the developed irrigation means that the consumption of water in the irrigation systems ought to be
decreased. The second goal is the decrease of the water resources pollution. The recent investigation
has demonstrated that agriculture took over the ignominious leadership in the environment pollution.
Industry, which was for decades the primary polluter, is now put under control by the introduction of
the waste water control and by the construction of waste water treatment facilities. In the intensive
irrigation conditions, the artificial fertilizers and plants protection chemicals are washed off from the
land into the recipients along with the excess water.
The WFD sees a solution in the introduction of the principle “user pays” and “polluter pays”. So, the
price of water is introduced as an instrument that should reduce the consumption and pollution of
waters. From the irrigation aspect, it means the increase of the net water price, because, in the most
of the countries, the end user pays only a portion of the real price of water. All the stated brings about
the changes in this agricultural area. The choice of the irrigation method providing the rational water
consumption and little water loss is emphasized. Also, the crop patterns with the plant sorts more
resistant to water shortage will be an advantage.
The introduction of the principle “user pays” may provoke a certain resistance in the farmers who are
the users of the irrigation systems. Water, must become an economic category. This requirement
should be fulfilled not because of the EU, but for our own sake.
Nevertheless, the level of understanding of water resources problems in Serbia is very low. The
behavior of the previous regime which did not observe economic logic has resulted in the great deal of
population thinking that the state is obliged to provide water for all the users at low, non-economic
prices.
The authors surveyed the public (users of water) on the question of irrigation of the Leskovac field.
This survey has demonstrated that the large majority of farmers (87%) understand the importance of
irrigation, but a negligible part of the respondents accepts the fact that the construction of the system
inevitably leads to the changes in the agricultural production (new, different sorts of crop, modern
irrigation methods, and economic price of water).
The construction of the irrigation system effects the modernization of the complete agricultural
production. However, the expressed attitudes demonstrate that there is a strong resistance of the
potential users of water to any modernization. In this case, there are no realistic conditions for the
successful operation of the irrigation system, so that the construction cannot be recommended in this
region. The obtained result demonstrate that one of the reasons for degrading of a large number of
the irrigation systems in Serbia lies perhaps in the fact that no public was consulted in the making of
decision to build the systems.

Key-words: Water Framework Directive, Irrigation, Public participation, Serbia


Introduction
The European Union policy in a certain field is carried out through the directives issued by the
European Parliament and EU Council. These directives do not only oblige the member states, but also
all the candidate states for the EU pay a due attention to the to the EU directives, in order to adjust the
local regulations to the legislature of the EU.
The European parliament and the EU Council adopted the directive 2000/60/EC (Water Framework
Directive) on 23rd of October 2000. This directive was issued on 22 th of December 2000 in the Official
Journal of the European Communities (OJ) L 327, pages 1 – 72, and it came into effect on the same
day (Article 25 of this directive). The Water Framework Directive has twenty-six articles and eleven
annexes. It was supplemented by the Decision of the European Parliament and Council
2455/2001/EC since 20th of November 2001 that was issued on 15th of December 2001 (OJ L 331,
p.1) and came into effect a day later. By this Decision, a list of priority substances in the area of water
resources is established and added as the Annex X to the Water Framework Directive (Article 1,
Decision 2445/2001/EC).
Adoption of the Water Framework Directive is a turning point in the development of the European
water resources management. For the first time in the history of Europe, a uniform strategy for
environment protection and water resources management was created. The water resources in the
territory of the EU become the concern of the whole Union and no autonomous decision making of the
individual state in this field is allowed. The importance of this directive surpasses the boundaries of the
European Union. By the force of its political and economic authority, the EU manages to enforce the
directive not only in the candidate countries, but in all the countries which have the common large river
basins with the EU. It is in the best interest of the Serbian water resources management to,
irrespective whether Serbia will become a member of the EU or not, pay a due attention to the Water
Framework Directive, and other water resources related EU directives.
Many studies presented examples of WFD implementation. This paper mentions only a few latest
papers. Tison et al. (2005) describes the different natural and disturbed community types found
throughout the French hydrosystem. Dodkins et al. (2005) uses a single permutation procedure for
developing the optimal river typology for biological elements within the WFD. Kay et al. (2005) focuses
on the relationships between land use and faecal indicator organism concentrations in the Ribble
drainage basin which is the single UK sentinel study area chosen for examining the implementation of
the WFD.
In Serbia, only few papers that were aimed at informing the professional public with the significance of
the Water Framework Directive were published (Petkovic et al. 2003, Petkovic 2004).
Considerably lower number of papers deals with the irrigation under WFD. Bazzari et al. (2005)
evaluates the economic, social and environmental sustainability of irrigated farming land under
different scenarios concerning water policy and the Common Agricultural Policy. According to the first
results, the impact of the WFD may be summed up in a minor reduction of water use with a sharp
decrease of farm income and a significant reduction of employment. Gomez-Limon and Riesgo (2005)
uses Multi-Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) mathematical programming models for analyzing the
different impact that a pricing policy for irrigation water would have.
The irrigation problems in the light of WFD application were not paid due attention up to now. The goal
of this paper is to point at some new events in the irrigation development in Serbia which are the result
of the application of the WFD.

Irrigation and WFD
The agriculture consumes the greatest deal of water in the world, and it comprises 70% of total
consumption. (UN WWD Report 2003). More than 40% of food required for nutrition is provided from the
irrigated area. The situation is similar in the Mediterranean countries of the EU. In Italy, agriculture
consumes 50 % of water, and 55% of agricultural output is produced via irrigation (Bazzani et al. 2004).
The application of the WFD can result in big changes in irrigation.
One of the goals of the WFD is rationalization of the water consumption, which in the countries with the
developed irrigation means that the consumption of water in the irrigation systems ought to be
decreased. The second goal is the decrease of the water resources pollution. The recent investigation
has demonstrated that agriculture took over the ignominious leadership in the environment pollution.
Industry, which was for decades the primary polluter, is now put under control by the introduction of the
waste water control and by the construction of waste water treatment facilities. In the intensive irrigation
conditions, the artificial fertilizers and plants protection chemicals are washed off from the land into the
recipients along with the excess water.
The WFD sees a solution in the introduction of the principle “user pays” and “polluter pays”. So, the price
of water is introduced as an instrument that should reduce the consumption and pollution of waters. From
the irrigation aspect, it means the increase of the net water price, because, in the most of the countries,
the end user pays only a portion of the real price of water. All the stated brings about the changes in this
agricultural area. The choice of the irrigation method providing the rational water consumption and little
water loss is emphasized. Also, the crop patterns with the plant sorts more resistant to water shortage
will be an advantage.
Irrigation in Serbia, due to its low level of development, has its specific problems in comparison to the
countries with the well-developed irrigation. Agriculture in Serbia consumes little water, so that water is
not a limiting factor in the irrigation development. The environment has not been significantly endangered
by the irrigation; because it is carried out only on some 30,000 ha which is less than 1% of the available
land (Petkovic 2003).
However, the introduction of the principle “user pays” may provoke a certain resistance of the farmers
who are the users of the irrigation systems. Water must become an economic category. This requirement
should be fulfilled not because of the EU, but for our own sake. There are no conditions for the
development of any branch of water resource without an economic price of water.
Never the less, the level of understanding of water resources problems in Serbia is very low. The long
lasting regime which did not respect an economic logic has resulted in the great deal of population
thinking that the state is obliged to provide water for all the users by low prices, non-economic prices.
The right question for the countries in transition is to what extent the public, including the users of
water, are ready to actively take part in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
Attempting to obtain the answer to this question, the Regional center for the sustainable development
and ecology of Nis, surveyed the public (users of water) on the question of irrigation of the Leskovac
field. The irrigation was taken as an example since the implementation of the Water Framework
Directive, in the part of introduction of the economic price of water (Article 9) may produce a certain
resistance at the farmers, who are the end users of the irrigation systems.

Case study
Irrigation of the Leskovac field has been topical since 1960 when the design of the irrigation of the
Leskovac field was completed, which envisaged irrigation of 3,400 ha from the Southern Morava
River. This design was not realize. This idea was re-actualized when the reservoir Barje on the
Veternica River was built. The analyses showed that at least 3,000 ha of arable land could be irrigated
with this water (Potic and Trajkovic 2003). The municipality of Leskovac adopted the Municipality
development strategy, where the prominent place is occupied by the irrigation. In the public discussion
prior to the adoption of this document, the opinion of the users of water was not heard.
The survey (of the users of water) was conducted by the mid July 2003, in the villages Donji Bunibrod,
Gornji Bunibrod, Donji Guberevac, Gornji Guberevac and Velika Grabovnica. These villages, inhabited
by around 4,000 people, are in the immediate vicinity of Southern Morava River, in the most fertile
section of the Leskovac field. The most part of the villagers is agricultural and there is a long tradition
of irrigation in these villages. One hundred and seventeen households took part in the survey, and
they were chosen randomly. The respondents could complete assertions:
1. Irrigation is necessary
a) Yes                  b) No                     c) Partially
2. I irrigate
a) 70-100%               b) 30-70%                c) Less than 30%          d) I do not irrigate
3. I use for irrigation:
a) Groundwater           b) Running waters        c) Standing waters        d) Other
4. Most frequently used irrigation method
a) Surface irrigation b) Sprinklers               c) Other
5. In irrigation, I use the advices of:
a) A experts              b) Other farmers        c) I use none’s advices
6. Do you need new irrigation equipment
a) Yes                b) No                       c) Perhaps, but I cannot buy it
7. If an irrigation system is constructed, I am ready to pay
a) 80-100% of the fee b) 40-80% of the fee        c) Less than 40%          d) I would not use the water
8. If an irrigation system is constructed, I am ready to cultivate other crops.
a) Yes                   b) No                    c) Perhaps




        Table 1. Results of the survey of the irrigation water users
   Attitude     Number of           % of the % of those Attitude    Number of       % of the     % of
               respondent         total number   who               respondent      total number those
                    s                    of    irrigate                 s                of      who
                                  respondents                                      respondents irrigate
                            I                                                V
      1a          102                87.2         -        5a         3               2.6         2.9
      1b           4                  3.4         -        5b         12              10.3       11.5
      1c           11                 9.4         -        5c         89              76.1       85.6
                            II                                               VI
      2a           6                  5.1         -        6a         2                1.7        1.9
      2b           38                32.5         -        6b         66              56.4       63.5
      2c           60                51.3         -        6c         36              30.8       34.6
      2d           13                11.1         -         -          -                -          -
                            III                                              VII
      3a           93                79.5       89.4       7a         3               2.6          -
      3b           11                 9.4       10.6       7b         6               5.1          -
      3c           0                  0.0        0.0       7c         17              14.5         -
      3d           0                  0.0        0.0       7d         91              77.8         -
                            IV                                              VIII
      4a          101                86.3       97.1       8a         5               4.3          -
      4b           3                  2.6        2.9       8b         64              54.7         -
      4c           0                  0.0        0.0       8c         48              41.0         -

A large majority of the respondents, more than 87%, supports the attitude on the necessity of
irrigation. Around 89% of the respondents irrigate their agricultural land. However, the most of them
(60 respondents, 51%) irrigates less than 30% of their land. For irrigation, the underground water is
mostly used (89% of the respondents who irrigate), and the surface irrigation is the dominating
method (97% of the respondents who irrigate). Such response indirectly indicates that the equipment
of the majority of respondents consists only of the pumps. The answer to question no 6 shows that 66
respondents (around 64% of the respondents who irrigate) are quite satisfied with such modest
equipment. Only two respondents expressed a wish to buy the new, modern equipment, which in
accordance with the opinion expressed by 89 respondents, that they do not use the advices of the
experts or other farmers in irrigation.
The Water Framework Directive introduces the principle of the economic price of water from 2010 on
(article 9 of the Directive). The answers to question no 7 showed that almost 78% of the respondents
refused to use the water from the system if they had to pay at least a portion of the real price of water.
Only three respondents agreed to pay more than 80% of the economic price of water The explanation
offered to the surveyors was that up to now, the irrigation water is for free.
The construction of the irrigation system comprises the change of crop structure, more extensive
presence of the industrial cultures (sugar beet, sunflower, soybean), and introduction of precrops for
the industrial cultures and other crop (Molnar et al. 1989). However, only 5 respondents wished to
change its crop structure. Such answer could be expected after the attitude of the majority that does
not want to pay not a part of the economic price of water. If the answers to seventh and eighth
question are compared, a certain disharmony in the answers may be observed. Even though 91
respondents claimed that they would not use the water from the irrigation system, only 64 said that
they would not change the crop structure. There are two basic reasons for such disharmony: either the
respondents did not understand the eighth question well; or the significant part of the respondents was
thinking about using the water from the system and would perhaps change their opinion if they were
acquainted with all the advantages of the irrigation system and wit the need for the rational usage and
protection of waters. The survey results have been given in the table 2.
The construction of the irrigation system effects the modernization of the complete agricultural
production. However, the expressed attitudes demonstrate that there is a strong resistance in the
potential users of water to any modernization. In this case, there are no realistic conditions for the
successful operation of the irrigation system, so that the construction cannot be recommended in this
region. The obtained result demonstrate that one of the reasons for degrading of a large number of
the irrigation systems lies perhaps in the fact that no public was consulted in the making of decision to
build the systems.
Conclusions
The adoption of the Water Framework Directive is the turning point in the development of European
water resource. This directive requires that all the water resources institutions of the EU work in a
uniform manner, to regularly inform the public, and to have the citizens express their opinion on all the
significant water resources plans. In the future, for all water resources systems the prior consent of the
representatives of the public will be required (class associations, individuals, NGO sector, users of
water).
However, very low degree of understanding of water resources problems is present in Serbia. The
survey conducted in the municipality of Leskovac demonstrates that a large majority of farmers
comprehends the significance of irrigation, but a negligible part of the respondents accepts the fact
that the construction of the system inevitably leads to the changes in the agricultural production (new
crop composition, modern irrigation methods, and economic price of water).
The long-lasting regime that did not respect the logic of economy led to the fact that the greatest
majority of the public holds that the state is obliged to provide water to all the users per low, non-
economic prices. Water should finally become the economic category in Serbia. Without the economic
price of water, there are no conditions for development of any water resources segment.
The first task in the application of the WFD in the field of irrigation is the informing of the widest possible
interested public with the need of rational usage and protection of water resources. The end user of the
irrigation systems should have the realistic picture of the required means for construction and unimpaired
operation of the irrigation systems. When the public is better acquainted with the problems, it will be able
to help in their solving.



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