Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers

The Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers is a comprehensive study which, for the first time, combines knowledge about biodiversity (fish, mussels, caddisflies), integrity of rivers and floodplains (hydromorphology), as well as the location of protected areas. A river network of over 80,000 kilometers in length was scientifically assessed according to these criteria. The result: about 61,000 kilometers of river (76 percent) are of high ecological quality and therefore designated as No-go zones for hydropower expansion. An energy study included in the Eco-Masterplan shows that the hydropower projects currently foreseen in the Balkans could be easily substituted by other sources of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind. All this data is shown in graphs and maps. The Eco-Masterplan is a suitable tool to curb the devastating plans for hydropower expansion in the Balkans, to preserve biodiversity and beauty of these river landscapes, to avoid social conflicts and to increase planning security for investors.


Find here all resources related to the Eco-Masterplan


Eco-Masterplan for DOWNLOAD

Study: Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers (original format)

Study: Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers (A4 format) - for print version please send an email to

Press release: Eco-Masterplan shows value of Balkan Rivers


This hand-drawn video gives you an idea what the Eco-Masterplan is all about in 2 minutes


The visual story-map explaining the Eco-Masterplan in less than 10 minutes


The interactive map to explore the different Eco-Masterplan criteria in detail


The study "Alternatives to hydropower in the Balkans", commissioned for the purpose of the Eco-Masterplan

The countries in the Balkans are facing a dilemma: they must fulfill the EU renewable targets while also follow environmental legislation. This raises the question: Is it possible to increase the renewable energy share AND keep the Balkan Rivers alive? We commissioned the energy expert Dr. Jürgen Neubarth with this question and his study “The role of hydropower in selected South-East European countries” shows that it is possible.  The potential of environmentally much sounder sources of energy, such as wind and solar, is up to twice as high as the current electricity demand in the sun-kissed Balkan countries and exceeds the potential from hydropower by about five times! Thus, there is actually no need for new hydropower development. Moreover, most Balkan countries would still fail to reach their renewable targets even if all economically feasible hydropower plants were built, including in protected areas like national parks. Thus, a complete switch in the energy policy is needed. The data sows that this is possible.

Study: The role of hydropower in selected South-East European countries