Water in Macedonia ….

Waters are approximately 2% of the territory of Macedonia, or 280.00 sq km.

There are about 35 rivers and 53 natural and artificial lakes. In relations to quantities of water resources, Macedonia belongs to areas that have sufficient water resources. However, their distribution is quite unequal. Rivers belong to 6 river basins: River Vardar – 20.535km2, River Crn Drim 3.350km2, River Strumica 1.535km2, Dojran Lake 120km2, River Lebnicka 129km2 and River Binacka Morava 44km2.

The  flow of water from one river basin into another is quite important for the environment. Such flows exist from the basin of River Radika into the basin of River Vardar (through the Mavrovo hydro-electric plant) and from the basin of the River Bregalnica into the basin of River Strumica (from water accumulation Mantovo). Other flows are planned for the future such as: from the basin of River Vardar into the River Treska, from the basin of River Pcinja into Ovco Pole etc.).

Basin – implies part of the territory where the water from the atmospheric rainfalls, from the underwater springs and sources flow together into the sea. In Macedonia such basins are: the Aegian, the Black Sea and the Adriatic. Only an insignificant part of the territory of the neighbouring countries (10%) belong to these basins. The Aegian basin comprises 87% of the waters of the Republic of Macedonia.

The total water resources of the Republic of Macedonia are estimated at 6,37 billion m3 in a normal year and 4,80 billion m3 in a dry year, out of which 80% are carried in the Vardar basin.

The annual resources potential per capita is of about 3.000 m3, which is on the low side but more than the potential of e.g. Germany and a number of other European countries (European average approx. 1.900 m3/capita).

The groundwater does not have an impact on the balance of available water, but it is important because of its quality. One part of this water enriches the underground reservoirs – aquifers, mainly located in the main valleys of the country. There are no sufficient data about the available underground water by its quality and quantity.

Despite being a landlocked country, Macedonia has three large tectonic lakes (Ohrid, Prespa, and Dojran), three artificial lakes and roughly 50 ponds. The largest of the tectonic lakes is Lake Ohrid located in the Drin catchment area, with a surface area of 357 square kilometres. This lake is more than 2 million years old and is home to many unique species. All of the lakes are shared with the neighboring countries. There are nine spa resorts in Macedonia: Banište, Banja Bansko, Istibanja, Katlanovo, Kežovica, Kosovrasti, Banja Kočani, Kumanovski Banji and Negorci.

As far as water consumption, Macedonia is in third place in Europe. Before us, the countries that consume water on the most irrational way are Cyprus and Bulgaria, followed by Italy, Spain and Malta with the worst index of consumption of water. Each year European consumes 5,300 cubic meters of water, enough to fill two Olympic pools. For comparison, Skopje spends two to three times more water than other world capitals. Skopje is a champion in the loss of water by 57 percent. In Vienna, the loss is 12 percent, London 19 Paris 20 Rome 25, Stockholm 21, Belgrade 20, Zagreb 23, Ljubljana 31, Podgorica 20, Sofia 27, Athens 23, 10 and Zurich stock 4 percent. It is estimated that 28 percent of water losses in Skopje due to technical or physical losses, and the other 29 percent are commercial losses.

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