Фото: Бојан Блажевски

The heat waves that are a result of climate change as well as the sudden rises and drops in temperatures, are causing changes in rainfall precipitation quantities, intensity and the spatial distribution. The dry days are the main reason why water levels of natural lakes and rivers in North Macedonia must be maintained. In the last 10 days, the river and lake water level are having minor oscillations on a daily basis. Somewhere there are tendencies of dropping and somewhere the water levels are rising, but in general, the situation nationwide still isn’t critical, said for Meta.mk the National Hydro-meteorological Service (UHMR).

The situation with the artificial lakes, still, is showing a water level at a minimal limit, according to the measuring conducted by ECM. The water from these accumulations is mainly used for the production of electricity. AD Elektrani which is managing most of the hydro-power plants considers that the current situation isn’t critical and states that larger quantities of water from the artificial lakes aren’t drawn in order to produce electricity for export.

UHMR, explained for Meta.mk that the most critical period for water levels is yet to come. Since the waters in the lakes and the rivers in most part are filled from the melting of the snow, a process that lasts until June, and from rainfalls.

“The months of July, August and September are the most critical months for water levels, and on occasions so is October. This is because these months are the longest dry periods, there aren’t many rainfalls, they are unstable and short and don’t cover the whole territory, but are local. As a result, dry days and low water levels are yet to be expected to occur. But for now, the situation is stable,” said Atanas Ugrinski, a counselor for hydrology at UHMR.

He said that the artificial accumulations are also influencing the water levels of natural lakes and rivers i.e. the discharging of water from them for the production of electricity when there is a lack of water from natural lakes and rivers.

The water levels of artificial lakes in North Macedonia are almost bordering with the minimum, show the measuring conducted by ECM. Are these accumulations are being emptied in order to produce more electricity for exporting?

To this question, ECM replied t Meta that since 2020, ECM has been producing electricity only for the needs of the Universal supplier and for securing the systematic services toward AD MEPSO, which is a legal obligation and isn’t selling electricity on the free market.

“The production of electricity is stable and is implemented in accordance with the annual production plan for 2021, with a necessary optimization depending on daily or periodic fluctuations in the system,” said the state-owned ECM.

According to the measures conducted by ECM at artificial accumulations and Ohrid Lake, the data from the 12th of July is showing boundary values of measured meters above sea level (mamsl).

In Mavrovo, a mamsl of 1217,19 was measured, and a minimally allowed level is 1207,00); at Shpilja 578, 88 mamsl (minimally allowed level is 560,00); at Globochica 686,35 mamsl (minimally allowed level is 682,50); at Ohrid 693,49 mamsl (minimally allowed level is 693,10); at Tikvesh 248,24 mamsl (minimally allowed level is 233,00); at Kozjak 444,38 mamsl (minimally allowed level is 435,08); and at Sv. Petka 356,19 mamsl, with a minimally determined level of 355,00 mamsl.

In every water environment, each living world has its own place and meaning, so every fluctuation of the water systems has an influence on it and ecological implications. Therefore, the regulative of the water levels must be met in order to maintain the biological minimum for the organisms. This was stressed for Meta.mk by Milica Ristovska, a Professor at the Biology Institute, who is involved in the Institute for Communication Studios’ “Clear it up!” campaign

She said that the enormous discharge, but also the sudden filling of water systems, are causing disbalance of the living world in them, especially the more sensitive species, such as the trout for example.

“It is the trout, which lives in cooler waters and with more oxygen, is an endangered species in the rivers where hydropower plants are being built,” she said. She also said that the responsibility for the changes in river and lakes’ water levels is on people and institutions.

“The electricity must be produced with the use of waters because it is important from a social-economic aspect. But, it doesn’t have to mean that during the building of hydropower plants and the use of waters, the living world should be destroyed and endanger the ecosystems without bearing any responsibility. We have good laws and the state is a signee of many documents for every type of protection of natural resources from the human factor but in reality, very few of these regulations are obeyed,” said Ristovska.