Challenges for transboundary river management in Eastern Europe – three case studies

  • Fabian Krengel Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Christian Bernhofer Technische Universität Dresden
  • Sergey Chalov Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Vasily Efimov Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Ludmila Efimova Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Liudmila Gorbachova Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute
  • Michal Habel Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz
  • Björn Helm Technische Universität Dresden
  • Ivan Kruhlov Ivan Franko National University
  • Yuri Nabyvanets Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute
  • Natalya Osadcha Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute
  • Volodymyr Osadchyi Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute
  • Thomas Pluntke Technische Universität Dresden
  • Tobias Reeh Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Pavel Terskii Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Daniel Karthe German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology
Keywords: IWRM, transboundary rivers, Eastern Europe, water pollution, Western Bug, Desna, Western Dvina

Abstract

The transboundary river basins shared between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union pose unique challenges for management because of differences regarding not only the legal framework but also related to monitoring practices and water utilization. Using the example of three river basins – the Desna (shared by Russia and Ukraine), the Western Dvina (shared by Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia) and the Western Bug (shared by Ukraine, Belarus and Poland) – this paper provides an analysis of current challenges with respect to transboundary water resources management in Eastern Europe. This assessment is based on a comparison of similarities and disparities concerning the physical and human geography of the basins (and their national sub-basins) as well as specific problems related to water pollution caused by urban, agricultural and industrial water usage both in the recent past and today. All three catchments have a similar size, climate and hydrological characteristics. However, there are different challenges regarding up- and downstream sections of the respective basins: pollution input in the Western Bug originates primarily from upstream sources in Ukraine and Belarus, whereas ecological problems in the Desna and Western Dvina persist principally downstream, i.e. in Ukraine respectively Belarus and Latvia. Despite some differences between the basins, it is concluded that interstate cooperation is an important prerequisite for integrated water resources management (IWRM) in all of the studied basins. This analysis identified several key challenges related to start or continue with IWRM, including pollution mitigation, improved monitoring, appropriate governance, climate change and its effect on water balances in the catchments, capacity development and thorough system understanding.

Author Biographies

Fabian Krengel, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Institute of Geography
Christian Bernhofer, Technische Universität Dresden
Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology
Sergey Chalov, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Geography
Vasily Efimov, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Geography
Ludmila Efimova, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Geography
Michal Habel, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz
Institute of Geography
Björn Helm, Technische Universität Dresden
Institute for Urban and Industrial Water Management
Ivan Kruhlov, Ivan Franko National University
Faculty of Geography
Thomas Pluntke, Technische Universität Dresden
Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology
Tobias Reeh, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Institute of Geography
Pavel Terskii, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Geography
Daniel Karthe, German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology
Environmental Engineering Section
Published
2018-09-27
How to Cite
Krengel, F., Bernhofer, C., Chalov, S., Efimov, V., Efimova, L., Gorbachova, L., Habel, M., Helm, B., Kruhlov, I., Nabyvanets, Y., Osadcha, N., Osadchyi, V., Pluntke, T., Reeh, T., Terskii, P., & Karthe, D. (2018). Challenges for transboundary river management in Eastern Europe – three case studies. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 149(2-3), 157-172. Retrieved from https://www.die-erde.org/index.php/die-erde/article/view/389