WWF-Romania Calls for an Urgent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Răstolița Hydropower Project | WWF
WWF-Romania Calls for an Urgent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Răstolița Hydropower Project

Posted on 24 May 2019

Completion of Răstolita will entail the capture and derivation of several water bodies, leaving some of them high and dry

Just one of the many infringements of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) in Central and Eastern Europe is the Răstolita Hydropower Project in Romania. The dam is located in both the Călimani-Gurghiu (ROSCI0019) and Defileul Mureșului Superior (ROSPA0030) Natura 2000 sites. When finalised, the project will adversely affect the ecological status of at least 10 bodies of water, 8 of which will be seriously damaged and thus violate the non-deterioration principle established by the WFD. Despite repeated requests from WWF and other environment organisations, and requirements under EU legislation (WFD or Birds and Habitats Directives) for EIAs to include impact assessments on water bodies, no such assessment has been conducted.

Completion of Răstolita will entail the capture and derivation of several water bodies, including the Ilva Mare, Valea Bradului, Donca, Bistra, Gălăoaia Mică, Gălăoaia Mare and Vişa – leaving some of them high and dry. In fact, the Rostoliţa River will be completely destroyed. Upstream, its course will be dammed to form a reservoir lake; while downstream it will be entirely dry. The accumulated water will be channelled from the mountain through a 8.5 km pipeline to the hydropower plant, from where it will be released into the Mureş River.

The project, authorised in 1990, provides minimum flow rates only for human use, not for ecosystems. Moreover, the concerned water bodies and the affected forest areas endanger habitats for a number of species of European importance such as the Danube salmon, otter and lynx, in breach of the Habitats and Birds Directives. . “The WFD must be better enforced to ensure protection of water bodies, not weakened beyond salvation,” says Diana Cosmoiu, Policy Coordinator at WWF-Romania

According to scientific studies in 2015, Răstolița Dam poses “the biggest threat to fauna at ROSCI0019 Călimani - Gurghiu.”[1] Putting the dam into operation will destroy approximately 8.5 km of Danube salmon breeding habitat, a species critically endangered and globally threatened according to IUCN criteria, will be wiped out.

Interactive Map of Romanian Rivers and the Impact of Hydropower

 
Photos:
RED: The habitat that will disappear or will change significantly due to the operation of the Rostoliţa Dam. YELLOW: the location of the dam, GREEN: border of ROSCI0019, yellow line: border of Defileul Muresului Natural Park, WHITE: border of Calimani National Park.
 
 
For more information:
Diana Cosmoiu, Policy Coordinator,
WWF-Romania
Tel: +40725433576, dcosmoiu@wwfdcp.ro
 
 
[1] Attila Nagy András and István Imecs, Evaluarea ihtiofaunei sitului ROSCI0019 Călimani – Gurghiu. March, 2015.
 
RED: The habitat that will disappear or will change significantly due to the operation of the Rostoliţa Dam. YELLOW: the location of the dam, GREEN: border of ROSCI0019, yellow line: border of Defileul Muresului Natural Park, WHITE: border of Calimani National Park.
© WWF-Romania