ETC/ICM Report 1/2018: Outlook on Water and Climate Change Vulnerability in the Western Balkans

30 Apr 2018

Nils Hettich

The geographical scope of this report is the Western Balkans – the regional delineation defined by the EU as the group of the countries in south-eastern Europe that are not part of the EU. The report presents current state, trends and future estimates that shape water availability, uses, opportunities and water related risks in the Western Balkans region. It also supports forward-looking knowledge by exploring different plausible futures and contributes to regional forward-looking analyses. The time frame of the report expands from the current state and trends to the mid-term (2031–2060) and long-term future (2061–2090), respectively. 

Climate change in terms of temperature, precipitation as well as future water availability (modelled discharge) has been assessed for 12 distinct catchments covering almost 80 % of the Western Balkans. Changes in water availability are accentuated in all scenarios, with discharges almost always lower in the long-term future. Even though the river discharges will most likely decrease, modelled projections indicate an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme hydrological events. 

The close proximity to the EU and the potential of many countries to join it provides the region with additional opportunities to cope with challenges of climate change. Common foreign policies should make the region stronger in relationship with international partners as well as provide a better environment to deal with transboundary and complex issues. 

Prepared by: 

ETC/ICM members: Lidija Globevnik, Luka Snoj, Gašper Šubelj (TC Vode) 

EEA member: Blaž Kurnik 

Editor: Anita Künitzer (UFZ) 

Published by: ETC/ICM, April 2018, 87 pp.