Re-routing of the Toplodolska river, Serbia

People of village Temska supported by local NGOs, professionals and municipality have opposed the project of re-routing Toplodolska River in order to bring additional water to the HPP Pirot.


The Lake Zavoj, located in the Southeast Serbia, was formed in 1963 when the erosion of the river bank blocked the flow of the Visočica River.

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Basic Data
NameRe-routing of the Toplodolska river, Serbia
SiteTemska, Pirot
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe tunnel length is 5,6 km

Maximum capacity of the tunnel is 10m3/s
Level of Investment (in USD)16,350,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population700-1,000
Start Date1990
Company Names or State EnterprisesJP Elektroprivreda Srbije EPS (EPS) from Serbia - HPP Pirot owner
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia; The Institute of Nature Conservation of Serbia; The

Municipal Government of Pirot
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - Provided the credit for finalization of the project
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCivil Associations: Ekoman-Vojvodstvo; Odbor za ocuvanje Toplodolske reke; Temska; Beloglavi sup; Stara planina; Unija zelenih; Hrast;Toplica; Ekoloska Balkanska asocijacija
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesThe citizens and NGOs supported by the local government demanded the project cancellation.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.A collaborative action of the local NGO, citizens and municipal government temporarily stopped the re-routing of Toplodolska River in 1990s and 2000s. However, the proposal of new Regional Spatial Plan includes the re-routing project. In addition, the construction of ski-resorts on the mountain Stara planina will increase water and electricity demand that is planned to be obtained from the Zavoj Lake.
Sources and Materials

Brane svoju reku
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Narušava se ravnoteža u prirodi
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HE Pirot
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Toplodolska reka – bogatstvo za potomstvo
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Niko nam neće određivati koliko ćemo vode da pijemo
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Glasovi birača otplovili niz Toplodolsku reku
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Više struje sa deset miliona evra
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Strahuju da će ostati bez vode
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Other Documents

Protest of citizens of Temska The sign reads: "Citizens of Temska don't want expensive electricity, they want water".
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Toplodolska River Source:
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Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update02/06/2016