Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country extremely rich in natural resources which the country's legislation allows to be used to make the rich even richer at the expense of the natural environment and citizens. This is also the case of the River Rakitnice, which is planned to be piped.
Looking at the countries of the European Union, especially with regard to renewable energy sources, we can see that Bosnia and Herzegovina clearly lags behind them. Many countries are investing into wind and solar energy, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina the main focus is on hydropower, with plans to build 300 new hydropower plants on the country’s 244 rivers. And many of the plants are already in place.
The River Rakitnica is a tributary of the River Prače, which has also been damaged by the construction of small hydropower plants, and now two mini hydro power plants are expected to be built on the River Rakitnica as well.
In 2013, the Government of the Republika Srpska issued a decision awarding a thirty-year concession to the company Pionir Energy RS d.o.o. Višegrad for the construction and use of two small hydropower plants, "Ušće" and "Podgaj", on the River Rakitnica in the municipality of Rogatica.
The construction of these plants is harmful for several reasons. A large number of villages and the municipality of Rogatica are supplied with drinking water from sources that would be destroyed by this construction. As with all hydropower plants, whether large or small, permanent degradation and alteration of ecosystems and the extinction of plant and animal species would occur. This has an impact on the river ecosystem and artificially induced flooding and endangering human health as a result of impaired natural groundwater filtration.
In this case, too, the private interest is placed ahead of the public interest; the concessions in the Balkans are mostly granted to private investors.
Fight for the River Rakitnica
The citizens of the municipality of Rogatica have started a petition against the construction of the two hydro power plants. The petition was jointly organized by the Gučevo local community, the Rogatica tourist association, the Gučevo women's association "Snop", and the Bereg fishermen's association and was supported by all the local communities from the municipality of Rogatica.
The locals have also founded a FB page, “Rakitnica River Rescue Movement”
Small-capacity hydroelectric plants are sweeping the rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina without order or planning, and the legislation allows it. And it is up to the citizens and activists to preserve the rivers, most often through associations and struggles. The most striking example of this struggle is the River Kruščica, which today flows naturally and freely, as the bloodstream of planet Earth should flow.