Project area

The water courses in Bosnia and Herzegovina belong to the Black Sea and Adriatic Sea Basins. Out of the total BiH surface (51.129 km2), 75,7 % (38.719 km2)belongs to Sava River Basin (tributary to the Danube River Basin). In FBiH, an area of 17.533 km2 belongs to the Sava River Basin, and 8.621 km2 to the Adriatic Sea Basin.

Figure1.: Overview map of BiH, showing the two major River basin districts.


The Bosna River is a tributary of the Sava River.It flows through the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The river’s origin is located 79 meters above sea level. Its source is a strong karst spring, settled at the foot of the Igman Mountain. Important right tributaries are Miljacka, Stavnja, Krivaja, Željeznica and Spreča, the left ones are Zujevina, Lašva, Fojnica, Lepenica and Usora. The length of the main watercourse is 274 km.

Because most of the tributaries are flood rivers, and water levels can change abruptly, the area alongside the Bosna River is often subject to flooding. Table below contains some general information about the Bosna River. There are about 1.5 million inhabitants of the catchment area.


                                                     The Bosna River Basin area.




( km2)

Specific average runoff

in BiH

in FBiH

in RS

Per Area



Per capita












Figure2. Bosna river catchment


Main Problems

The high density of settlements, industries, not existing or not properly functioning urban and industrial wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and intensive agriculture contribute largely to the river’s excessive pollution. The risks associated with the environmental pollution are unknown.

One of the main reason is the lack of basic, reliable, quantitative data on the main polluters in the basin, sources of diffuse pollution, main pollutants in the river itself and the associated groundwater aquifers, etc. Regarding the above it is difficult to propose any large-scale investments leading towards the improvement of the environmental status of the river basin.


Improving the pollution status of the Bosna River will contribute significantly to an increased living standard of a large part of the population of BiH. Similarly, a reduction of pollution in this part of the Sava River Basin will have a high beneficial impact on the relationships with the downstream countries.


Water quality

 As the responsibility for monitoring of any environmental pollution is divided between the Water Agencies of both entities, there is currently no coherent programme for monitoring the Bosna River on a regular basis. Additionally, it is currently unclear which pollutants are of immediate concern for the Bosna River, which makes it even more difficult to establish a suitable monitoring programme. As a result of this, there is a very limited amount of reliable data on environmental pollution in the Bosna River. Despite that, it is known to be the most polluted river in BiH, as was confirmed by water quality measurements performed between 2005-2007 and within the Biological Monitoring of BiH project in 2009. Unfortunately, except for these projects there is virtually no data available for the period since 1990.

Industrial and municipal wastewater monitoring

At the moment there is no pollution information available on the wastewaters that are often directly discharged into the Bosna River. The project will systematically monitor wastewater streams in the basin to obtain “baseline” pollution information. Here, an obtaining of “representative” sample reflecting the long-term pollution pattern at the sampling site is the major challenge.




NATO SPS Programme Office accepted and approved final report for the project
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Deputy Commander of NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo Brigadier Ole Fauske visited Hydro-Engineering Institute of the Faculty of Civil Engineering Sarajevo
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Final workshop within the project “Development of a Decision Support System for Reducing Risk from Environment Pollution in the Bosna River"
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