Case Study: Intake of the Bolje Sestre karst spring for the regional water supply of the Montenegro coastal area


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September 2009


Even though the coastal region of Montenegro is of crucial importance to the tourism industry and the main generator of its economy, its long-standing water shortage problem is still unsolved. Over 150,000 inhabitants and tourists connected to the public water supply system in the coastal area experience water shortages and regular interruptions in supply during the summer months. Montenegro is a country where karstic rocks are dominant. Almost 90 percent of the population consumes and depends on water solely from karst aquifers. An unstable discharge regime, fast circulation, a very deep groundwater table, and the presence of water limited to discharge zones and in restricted karstic pathways are typical characteristics of its karst aquifers. Therefore, in Montenegrin land with such a high development of karst, the problem of finding and successfully tapping precious groundwater is increasing. Climatic and hydrological conditions during Pleistocene and even during recent times were not favorable for groundwater sources. The Bolje Sestre karstic spring discharge area is located within the Skadar Lake system, the largest on the Balkan Peninsula and an important biodiversity site. The project implementation would be coordinated with the National Parks of Montenegro by ensuring minimum environmental impact during construction and operation. The design pipelines should remain above the maximum lake water level but some parts will also be impounded. This requires particular attention to material selection and installation concerning local seismic and liquefaction conditions. An environmental impact study concluded that Bolje Sestre intake will reduce the volume of lake water by only 0.03 percent, or 2 mm of the water column.


Case Study, Bolje Sestre Karst Spring, Regional Water Supply, Montenegro Coastal Area

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