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Proposal developed : Sava-HYCOS

The Sava River is an international River with a basin area shared by five states, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. A minor share of the basin area extends into Albania. The river stretches slightly less than 1000 km with a catchment area covering about 95000 km2 representing 50% to 70% of the surface area of each of the five riparian countries. The Sava is created by two headwaters, Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinja  which join between the Slovenian towns of Lesce and Radovljica and joins the Danube at Belgrade in Serbia, it is 945 km long. The mean annual discharge at the point joining the Danube in Belgrade is about 1700 m3/s and provides up to 80% of the total freshwater resources of the riparian countries.

Due to wars and instability in the region in the 1990s, hydrological and meteorological data observing and colleting networks faced severe destruction. There was serious deterioration of the hydrometeorological information and forecasting systems, and fragmentation of the existing water management schemes. This situation poses a problem in addressing water management issues in the Sava River Basin, including river navigation, flood management, and protection of the environment from water related hazards.

Following the Stability Pact in 1999, governments of the countries sharing the river basin signed a Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin in December 2002 in Kranjska Gora, (Slovenia). This was later ratified by all the signatories. Objectives of the Sava River Basin Framework Agreement are:

a)  Regulate, in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive, navigation regime, economic development, integrated water management and environmental protection of the Sava River Basin:

b)  Promote the inclusion of the Sava river in modern European waterway systems and

c)  Establish a coordinated system of measures and activities to deal with pollution, floods and drought.

The International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) has also been established for supervising implementation of the Agreement. Its headquarters are in Zagreb (Croatia)

Within the framework of regional cooperation, an informal meeting of the representatives of the national Hydrological Services of the riparian countries was held during the fourteenth WMO Congress in 2003. It supported the idea of launching a project in the Sava river basin to enhance hydrometeorological activities. As a follow – up a number of preparatory activities and planning meetings were organized, the ultimate outcome being a project proposal which was agreed upon by all the riparian states at a recent meeting in April 2007.

The aim of the project is to re-establish and upgrade the hydrological observing and information infrastructure in all the riparian states of the Sava River Basin, strengthen national hydrological forecasting capabilities, and establish an efficient regional hydrological information system capable of generating and providing timely hydrometeorological data, information, forecasts and flood warnings for water users in the Sava Basin, including the ISRBC.

The World Bank has expressed interest in the project, as a follow up to the MED-HYCOS (completed) and an addition to the South East Europe Hydromet Initiative (under development ) both funded by the Bank, and has agreed to sponsor an experts mission to assesses in detail the countries needs and expectations and develop a fully fledged project document. The mission will take place in June-July 2007 and subsequently WMO will assist countries to meet for reviewing and adopting the document to be presented to potential donors.