|Sourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in East and Central Europe (UNEP-IETC, 1998)|
|Part A - Introduction|
Based upon the river systems within the region (see Box), field surveys and detailed inventories of available technologies for maximizing the use and augmenting the availability of existing freshwater resources were carried out in the three principle watersheds, covering the six major subregions, of Eastern and Central Europe; namely, the Baltic Sea basin which includes Latvia and Poland, the Black and Caspian Seas basin which includes Ukraine, Romania, and Hungary, and the Mediterranean Sea basin which includes Albania. The procedure for selecting alternative technologies for freshwater augmentation for inclusion in this regional Source Book was oriented toward technologies that promote sustainable development, and involved an intensive literature survey of methods used to maximize and augment freshwater resources for all human purposes, including agriculture, industry, and domestic or potable use. This survey included wastewater treatment and reuse, water recycling, rainwater harvesting, water savings and storage, as well as "soft" methods for the minimization of water use (e.g., promotion and use of good housekeeping practices, water saving products, educational campaigns, etc.), and encompassed both modern and traditional methods.
A very important source of information used in this study was some registers and guide books that contain descriptions of over 200 technologies; for instance, the Polish Guide-book About The Water Protection Facilities And Services and the Investors' Environmental Guidelines, developed in Ukraine, proved to be excellent resources. It is also important to note that, while every effort has been made to provide accurate information about the costs of the identified technologies, the cost information presented should be treated as indicative only due to inflation, which may be significant in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, and conversion from the original units (Polish zloty, Latvian lats, Hungarian forint, etc.) to United States dollars.
The river systems of the region may be divided into four geographic groups; namely, the basins that drain west and north into the Baltic Sea, those that drain south into the Mediterranean Sea, those that drain east and southeast into the Black and Caspian Seas, and those that drain north into the Arctic Sea. The Volga River is the region's, and continent's, longest river (3 529 km) and has the largest drainage basin (1 359 750 km²). Other major rivers are the Danube (the second longest river of Europe), Dnieper, Don, Vistula, and Oder. Many of the major rivers of the region serve as transportation routes and are interconnected by networks of canals.
Three major climate types can be distinguished in the region;
namely, the transitional climate with 500 to 1 000 mm of annual rainfall, cold
winters, and warm summers; the continental climate of the northeast with 250 to
500 mm of annual rainfall, long and cold winters, and hot summers; and, the
Mediterranean climate with moderate rainfalls of 250 to 1 000 mm, mild and wet
winters, and hot and dry summers.
Three different case studies on the successful application of local technologies for maximizing the efficiency of use of water resources and for freshwater augmentation were identified, including beaver reintroduction, the Vija-biotechnology system of wastewater treatment, and the ecological education campaign "Washing may be Cheaper". However, this survey did not include information about clean technologies which may be used in industry to save water and minimize generation of wastewater.