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Dabar Hydro Power Plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The HPP Dabar is under construction despite of irregularities in the project EIA study and active opposition by national and international NGOs and scientists.


The plan for building the Hydro Power Plant Dabar has been part of a complex and old Yugoslavian project called ‘Gornji Horizonti’ (Upper Horizons) from 1950. Although it had never been built, it is now entering again the European scene. The original project, part of which is the HPP Dabar project, was reconsidered as Bosnia have faced growing demand for clean energy; however its economic viability is being criticized.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Dabar Hydro Power Plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Country:Bosnia and Herzegovina
State or province:Republic of Srpska (East Herzegovina)
Location of conflict:Trebinje
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Dams and water distribution conflicts
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Power = 159 MW

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Level of Investment: 234,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) from Bosnia and Herzegovina - Former owner of 30% of HPP Dabar
Hidroelektrane na Trebišnjici (HET) from Bosnia and Herzegovina - Owner of HPP Dabar (100%)
China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) from China - Memorandum of understating with the Government of RS on construction of the HPP Dabar
Relevant government actors:The Government of Republic of Srpska; The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:WWF international; WWF Bosnia; CEE Bankwatch Network
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsSpecific environmental impact: Water salinization- water for irrigation in the Neretva delta already contains 2,000 mg of salt per liter, for the comparison freshwater contains 350 and sea water from 3,000 to 4,000 mg per liter.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:The WWF International and it is Bosnian branch demand respect of EU directives in the process of construction of HPP Dabar including previous research and involvement of the wider community in the project preparation phase.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The construction work on HPP Dabar is ongoing. Although it was expected to be finished in 2016 the completion of the project was postponed due to slow progress.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Ramsar Convention

[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Bankwatch "EU-backed energy projects will harm people and the environment in the Western Balkans"
[click to view]

Energy Community website
[click to view]

Power market
[click to view]

Serbia Energy Republika Srpska: HPP Dabar 160MW construction works started
[click to view]

Neretva-river in peril blog
[click to view]

[2] Neretva Wiki
[click to view]

List of projects of Energy Community Interest (PECI)
[click to view]

Hidroelektrana Dabar
[click to view]

Hutovo blato - prirodno blago kojem prijeti nestanak
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Udruženja iz regije protiv HE Dabar i Dubrovnik II
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Za dokapitalizaciju HE »Dabar« 20 miliona KM
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Zbog Trebišnjice i HE Dabar prijeti nestanak Hutovog blata
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HE ''Dabar'' mogla bi ozbiljno ugroziti Hutovo blato
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Power plant threat to Bosnia oasis
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HET postao jedini vlasnik HE “Dabar”
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Započeo projekt HE Dabar i pored prijetnji opstanku Stoca i Donje Neretve
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Višemilionska pljačka naroda Hercegovine
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Vrhovni sud RS: Zakonita studija o uticaju HE "Dabar" na životnu sredinu
[click to view]

[click to view]

Kinezi ulaze u trku za gradnju HE Dabar
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Hutovo blato - prirodno blago kojem prijeti nestanak
[click to view]

Other documents

Map of proposed HHP on the Neretva basin Source:
[click to view]

Other comments:A local official in charge of rural development in Bosnia, estimates that the annual profit of 30 million euros from selling electricity produced in new plants would be the same as from the tangerine plantations in the region.
Meta information
Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update17/06/2016
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