We will lose the Balkan rivers because of the harmful effects of small hydropower plants. Don’t lose the game; sign the petition against the construction of the plants and save your rivers from being polluted, blocked, and dried out.

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All of the petition signatures will be compiled into a book, The Book of Losers, as a symbol of strong joint resistance to the construction of small hydropower plants. The Book of Losers will then be sent to Presidents' offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia to put additional pressure on the Office to ban small hydropower plants.

The draw

In 2018, we lost 70% of state incentives in the Balkans for renewable resources to small hydropower plants, which generated only 3.6% of all electrical energy that year.

Why are small hydropower plants so harmful

Even though small hydropower plants are considered a renewable source of energy, they are harmful to the environment.

Small hydropower plants are plants of up to 10 MW of power that are made by subdividing and fragmenting smaller rivers, and they’re often built in areas of high biodiversity, inside protected areas and national parks that are then devastated and dried out.

In the last two years, the western Balkans region has seen a rise of 300% in the amount of small hydropower plants being constructed. If all the plants in the pipeline are built, over 5000 km of river streams will be turned into pipes.

The main problem is that, in 2018, over 70% of state incentives for renewable resources in the Western Balkans went to small hydropower plants that, in return, generated only 3.6% of total electrical energy that year.

In addition to this, the construction of other renewable energy sources is in decline, and the incentives for building the small plants enable a great amount of corruption, since over 500,000,000 euros of incentives for electrical energy were allocated for the construction of small hydropower plants from 2015 to 2019.

There are multiple negative effects of the small hydropower plants:

social and psychological
Migration of the local inhabitants, loss of water and land

effect on the hydrological system
Shifted river streams, dried out drinking-water sources

physical and chemical
Impairment of the quality of water (lower oxygen level), impairment of the inhabitants’ health

effect on the land and the environment
Destruction of riverside forests, depletion of the land, increased risk of floods and droughts

effect on the ecosystem
Change in temperature and humidity, preventing the migration and movement of fish, extinction of some fish species, disappearance of key habitats for many plants and animals

Increased electricity bills, fewer workplaces, negative effect on tourism (no more areas for swimming or rafting)

The rivers benefit people by

facilitating biodiversity in and out the water

providing a steady food source for people

mitigating the effects of floods and droughts

preventing the loss of arable land and property

stabilising the microclimate

cleaning the water and air

enhancing health and the feeling of happiness