Stance about need for urgent decisions with rejections of legalization requests and other protection measures that need to be performed for all objects that have been built on the waterland and in the protection zones of water sources

This stance is accepted by the AINS Steering Committee at its meeting on 24.10.2018, based on the proposition of the Interdepartmental Committee for Environmental Protection.

Related to the environmental protection, and particularly in Belgrade area, urgent measures are required:
a) Emergently enacting rejections of legalization requests for all objects that are built on the water land, and in the protection zones of the water supply systems.

b) It is necessary to obligate the state company Srbijavode to immediately prevent by means of physical obstacles the usage of a flood barrier (including the Sava embankment) as a public road. The flood barrier (including the Sava embankment) is used now even by heavy trucks and transporters which devastate geomechanical structure of the flood barrier that was not dimensioned for any transport except for vehicles for the barrier monitoring and maintenance.

c) The city government of Belgrade needs to obligate the state company Belgrade Waterworks and Sewerage to immediately cut off all connections to electrical and water installations of Ranney and tubular wells.

d) The state company Belgrade Electro Distribution is obliged to cut off electrical connections to electric distribution network of all houses in the inner and outer water-source protection zones, and in the riverbed area of large river Sava that is defined by law as the water land.

e) The flood barrier (including the Sava embankment) must be carefully examined to find places where it was drilled for pulling water pipes through, and similar objects; and, then, these places need to be urgently repaired.


Water land is primarily technical and security category, and it becomes legal category when it is required to guard from devastation the space which has been kept, in the entire world from the oldest civilizations up to now, for maintenance and further development of protective systems as well as for securing water sources and water supply systems as the most vital and sensitive infrastructures. Waterland is defined as a belt of land where construction of any kind is forbidden, in order to allow unobstructed maintenance of flood barrier, manuevering of the machines during flood defense, and raising the flood barriers that will be soon needed because of increasing threats of floods due to worsening regimes of high waters. In the case of Sava, waterland is the riverbed for high waters, as well as the 50m belt from the barrier bottom toward the defended area.

Hydrologic-hydraulic analysis of the Sava and Danube stretches in the wider area of Belgrade showed that Belgrade is not properly protected from floods, and that very serious construction work is before us on further development and reinforcement of protection systems, flood barriers and accompanying drainage systems, so that the protection degree would be raised to the level that is appropriate for Belgrade under the conditions of rapidly worsening regimes of high waters. The worsening regimes of high waters are caused by two reasons: a) construction development in upstream countries, where new barriers have been built, and the existing ones were raised, while eliminating floodplains and making waves of high waters on both rivers, Sava and Danube, larger and more destructive; b) climate changes that became dangerous as they include increasing of extreme precipitaciones and high waters. Works on improving the protection from flooding Belgrade, many other cities and also capital objects in Serbia, are made very difficult, or often impossible by illegal objects built close to the flood barriers. Loading of the riverbed for floods so that illegal houses could be raised above the water level at the time of floods, as well as the extra transversal embankments in the riverbed raised as access roads to houses (for example, along the Sava embankment), radically distract water flows in periods of floods, and to a great extent increase probability of catastrophic floods. Intentional and non-intentional damages of flood barriers while building illegal objects, driving cars and heavy trucks on the flood barriers that are not dimensioned for such usage (including the Sava and Danube embankments in Belgrade), as well as the flood barrier age, drastically increase probability of the barrier rupture during high water times, and especially in the case of their prolonged retention at high elevation, which is going to happen more often as a consequence of worsening water regimes due to climate changes. Namely, the most unfortunate consequence of the climate changes is aggravation of extreme hydrological phenomena: high water flows are larger and more destructive, while the low water periods are longer and with lower throughputs.

The second big problem caused by illegal houses is their very negative effect on protection zones of the sources for Belgrade water supply system. The large number of houses along the Sava embankment is built in the inner and outer protection zones of water sources, i.e. closely to Ranney and tubular collectors, and in a proximity of the surface water intake from which the water is conducted to the Sava lake precipitator, and, then, to both water purification factories “Makiš 1 and 2”. This leads to a continuous pollution of water-carrying layers and surface water (because of septic tanks, releases of detergent and other harmful substances, etc), which can seriously endanger health of the large number of Belgrade citizens. Threat affects the larger area of the entire Belgrade-Sava regional system, as these water sources are planned to supply settlements on a long low-water stretch all the way to Mladenovac through the primary water pipeline that is under the construction. It is very important, therefore, to stop further destruction of waterland and water sources by delivering executive decisions with rejections of legalization requests for illegally built objects, and measures (b), (c), (d), as these illegal activites threaten property of high value, health of people, and even human lives.

The third big problem is that the embankment is, very likely, drilled for pulling water pipes through, which can be observed on the embankment along the blocks. Namely, it is obvious that the embankment has been damaged so that water could be supplied to the floating restaurants. It was observed that the water emerged from the flood barrier, in several places, probably because of damaged water pipes within the flood barrier. Pulling pipes through flood barrier is absolutely forbidden. In this way, during high water flows, when the embankment is in a slow-down zone, which can last for a long time on Sava, a dominant path is formed for water progression through the barrier causing a very dangerous phenomenon – barrier suffosion around the pipe. In hydrotechnology, there is an inexorable rule: no pipe can be pulled through the hull of a heaped structure that can be under long slow-down regime (i.e. under the water). And, if the pipes are pulled because they are needed (exclusively for the flood protection and drainage infrastructure), a special protective diaphragm needs to be implemented to prevent the water progression along the pipe walls and gradual suffosion (washing out small particles at first, and, then, larger and larger particles) that will sooner or later cause destruction of the heaped structure in that zone. Such damages are very difficult to be repaired, and they always remain weak points of the flood barriers. In any case, the flood barrier is gravely damaged at the place where water emerged, and urgent barrier repair is needed.

In Belgrade, 25.10.2018.

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