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Dan BĂLTEANU - Institute of Geography, Bucharest, Romania

Nicolae BOBOC - Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Chişinău, Moldova Rep.

George ERDELI - University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania B. ESWARAPPA - Bangalore University, Bangalore, India

Sergey GOVORUSKO - Pacific Geographical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Russia

Meryem HAYIR - University of Sakarya, Sakarya, Turkey Ioan IANOŞ - University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania Maria RĂDOANE - Ştefan cel Mare University, Suceava, Romania Vasile SURD - University Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Petru URDEA - West University, Timişoara, Romania

Antonin VAISHAR - Mendel University of Agriculture and Foresty, Brno, Czech Republic

Editor in chief: Costela IORDACHE EDITORIAL BOARD: Sorin AVRAM, Sandu BOENGIU,


Review approved by CNCSIS

We exchange similar publications with similar institutions of our country and from abroad


University of Craiova, Faculty of Social Sciences,

Department of Geography, Al. I. Cuza Street, no. 13, 200585, Craiova, Romania Tel. 0251/414548, 419503, Int. 4110, Fax: 0251418515,

e-mail: [email protected], [email protected] website: http:// cis01.central.ucv.ro/geography/


ISSN: 1224-4112






Analysis of 24-Hour Maximum Precipitation in North-Eastern Bulgaria through Relative Percentage Criterion


Stela DERMENDJIEVA, Helena PINA, Slavi DIMITROV, Geographical

Parallels to the Reaches of the Rivers the Danube and the Douro (Rivers of Destiny by Destiny of Rivers)


Nelly HRISTOVA, Major Basins within the Danube Hydro-Geographical Region

within Bulgaria


Svetislav SOSKIC, Jovica CURCIC, Hydrologic Characteristics of the Danube

River in the Republic of Serbia



Sergey M. GOVORUSHKO,Cryogenic Processes


Svetla STANKOVA, Geomorphology And Morphogenesis of the Beli Lom River




Ionel BOAMFĂ, Spatial Distribution of Pastoral Activities in Romania Based on



Anca CEAUŞESCU, Geodemographic Characteristics Regarding the Population

from the Southern Oltenia


Jaya NATYAVIDUSHI, Importance of Body Language in Effective Multicultural



Guntis, ŠOLKS, Ádám, NÉMETH, Implication of the Credit Crash for Urban

Regeneration in Riga



Milen PENERLIEV, Romanian Tourists on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast - A

Territorial Analysis



Daniel RUMENOV, Possibilities for the Development of Wine Tourism in

Shumen Region


Adrian TISCOVSCHI, Gabriela MANEA, Elena MATEI, Octavian COCOS, The Potential Influence of Climatic Conditions on the Development of Winter Tourism in the Eastern Carpathians. Case Study: Harghita Mountains


Alina VLĂDUŢ, Sorin AVRAM, Liliana POPESCU, Capitalization of Tourism

Resources in Oltenia (Romania)





UNIVERSITATEA DIN CRAIOVA Seria: Geografie Vol. 14 (new series) – 2011

Vol. 14 (serie nouă) – 2011






Abstract: The paper presents the results of investigation of the 24-hour maximum precipitation in the region of North-Eastern Bulgaria by applying the relative criterion of Fukui. According to this criterion, 24-hour precipitation equal to or exceeding 10% of the yearly rainfall amount is “extraordinarily heavy rainfall” and this rainfall has significant effects on river flow, soil, natural and agriculture vegetation.

The criterion was applied to 24 stations from the National meteorological network during the period 1992-2008. The territorial and temporal distribution of 24-hour maximum precipitation and their impact on the natural complex and the society are analyzed.

Key-words: North-Eastern Bulgaria, 24-hour maximum precipitation, relative percentage criterion, floods

Cuvinte cheie: Nord-Estul Bulgariei, maximul precipitațiilor în 24 ore, criteriul procentajului relativ, inundații


It is important to determine the regularities, both in theoretical and practical aspects, in terms of regime and territorial distribution of pouring and intensive (heavy) precipitations. We are witnessing the negative effects of heavy rainfalls during the recent years - floods, soil erosion, landslide activation, problems with the hydro-technical, transport and drainage infrastructure, which is tightly connected with considerable property damage and financial losses.

There are different quantitative criteria that are used for defining torrential (heavy) precipitations. When measuring the maximum precipitation of a 24-hour period, those considered potentially hazardous for Bulgaria are: quantities equal or

1 ”Konstantin Preslavsky” University of Shumen”, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Shumen, Bulgaria



above 50 mm/24 hours (Tishkov, Vladev, 1999) or 20-25 mm/24 hours (Velev, 1990). Those are not the only opinions expressed upon hazardous daily precipitation maximums (Sueva, 1960; Golub, 1973 etc.)

Fukui (1970) introduced the relative percentage criterion that would define, the measuring of 24-hour maximum precipitation that is to be included in the category of “hazardous rainfalls”. In his view, each measured daily precipitation quantity, exceeding 10% of the annual precipitation amount (for the respective year) is defined as extraordinary heavy rainfall that causes considerable negative effects on the river flows, soil surface and vegetation (natural and cultivated). The author suggested the relative percentage index is to be used instead of absolute values as it would be of bigger practical importance, because the hazardous precipitation depends on the rain conditions during the respective year.

The Fukui criterion is applied by Penkov (2002) for his research of spatial distribution of maximum precipitation quantities for 24 hour duration in Bulgaria.

The objective of this research is to determine the regularities in territorial distribution and the temporal variability of 24-hour maximum precipitations in North-Eastern Bulgaria, by applying the relative percentage criterion.

By using both absolute and relative percentage criteria for the research of a certain region, we have the chance to compare the obtained results.

Object, data and methods

Special scientific interest is expressed in heavy precipitation of North-Eeastern Bulgaria, because this region is one of the driest in the country, regarding the non- precipitation periods that last more than 10 days (Kyuchukova, 1991). The annual rainfall amounts in the eastern part of the country are the smallest in Bulgaria (below 500 mm). In Krasen weather station (in the region of Dobrich) and Vetrino (in the region of Varna), annual absolute rainfall minimums (146 mm and 168 mm, respectively) are reported (Geography of Bulgaria, 2002). That is the reason why the recorded cases of heavy precipitation, compared to the drought periods, during the warm six months of the year, has turned out to be natural disaster.

The geographic area of North-Eastern Bulgaria, from a natural-geographic point of view, is outlined by the following borders: the river Danube to the North; the land border with Romania to the North-East. The western border is the watershed between the Yantra River and the Rusenski Lom River. To the south, the area stretches as far as the Fore-Balkans. It is bordered by the Black Sea to the East.

The relief is predominantly occupied by lowlands, plateaus and hills.

The catchment of the Rusenski Lom River (with its tributaries: the Beli, the Cherni, the Malki Lom), the Provadiyska and the Botova Rivers run only on the territory of North-Eastern Bulgaria. The Golyama Kamchiya River appears to be a transitional river. Its northern tributary – the Vrana River flows through utterly plain relief. The widely-spread karst limestone in Ludogorie-Dobrudzha plateau, is the reason for the insignificant surface flow here, but still there are many dry valleys with episodic flow (the Voina, the Krapinets, the Senkovets etc).



The climate in North-Eastern Bulgaria is moderate-continental, as the continental influence is more severe here in comparison to the rest of North Bulgaria. In the context of the prevailing northwestern winds during the year, one of the climate features is the importance of northeastern cold winds for the climate formation during winter. Strong, dry winds, blowing from northwest, are usually recorded. They are formed in the South Russian and Ukraine steppes every summer. They cause prolonged dry periods (over 10 days - Kyuchukova, 1991).

Due to the expressed continental climate from west to east, the Black Sea coast is characterized by small annual precipitation amounts (Varna, Shabla). As a whole, the hilly and uneven relief in North-Eastern Bulgaria is the ground for the scattered precipitations distribution, as the windy north and northwestern slopes of mountains, plateaus and hills are characterized by heavier rainfall amounts. The precipitations in the region have a continental regime, with a summer (June) maximum and winter (February) minimum.

The study is carried out on the basis of daily data regarding the precipitation amounts, measured in 24 weather stations (rain-gauge) of the National Meteorology Network (towns and villages), located in North-Eastern Bulgaria during the period 1992-2008 (17 years). Most of the analyzed stations are located in river valleys and dry valleys. In 2005 and 2007, some of these stations recorded heavy (even record) precipitation amounts, which caused floods and significant damage of properties.

In every station, the cases of 24-hour rainfall which either equal or range above 10% of the precipitation amount for the respective year are highlighted. The frequency rate is calculated for the need of comparison (the number of cases is divided by the number of the observed years). It is presented as relative values – 0.1; 0.2 etc.

Research results

According to Fukui criterion, the territory of Bulgaria can be divided into two districts with roughly the same territorial scope - one with cases in which the frequency rate is below 0.1 and the other with rate of above 0.1 ( i.e. below and over 1 case for 10 years) (Penkov, 2002). North-Eastern Bulgaria belongs to the district with precipitation frequency above 0.1. It should be mentioned that according to the present research, this is the district that encompasses most of the weather stations where the frequency rate is 0.2 and 0.3. The results are shown in Table 1.

From all the 24 researched stations, only three frequency rate of 24-hour maximum precipitation above 0.1 is recorded (Glavnitsa, Vetovo and Provadiya).

Two stations have frequency rate of 0.1 (Kaynardzha and Novi Pazar). In the other 19 stations, the rate is 0.2 or more. It should be noted that in 5 of all stations, the recorded frequency rate is 0.3 (Samuil, Topchii, Tsar Kaloyan, Venets, Vladimirovo) and in 4 stations - the rate is 0.4 (Krushari, Harsovo, Karapelit, Vetrino). In the last case, rainfalls above 10% of the annual precipitation amount are registered every 2.5 years on average.



It is important to highlight that in the majority of cases, the analyzed 24-hour precipitation maximums (above 10% of the annual rainfall amount) are not notably heavy. Excluding the maximum absolute values, the predominant daily amounts vary between 50 and 80 mm.

There are particular cases with significantly lower precipitation quantities (30-40 mm), even 25 mm.

Table 1 24-hour precipitation maximums by percentage criterion in North-Eastern Bulgaria

in the period between 1992 - 2008 1- frequency of 24-hour precipitation

2- maximum 24-hour precipitation, mm 3- date

4- % from the respective annual precipitation amount

5- other cases - rainfall above 100 mm; two cases above 10 % for a year

Station 1 2 3 4 5

Isperih 0.2 136 August 8, 2006 15

Samuil 0.3 158 July 2, 2006 23

Alfatar 0.2 62 September12, 2003 10

Glavinitsa below 0.1 52.7 January 2, 2001 10

Dobrich 0.2 75.2 September 3, 1999 11

Krushari 0.4 66.5 April 28, 2008 16

Vetovo below 0.1 84.7 August 27, 2007 13

Chereshovo 0.2 55.6 July 13, 1994 10

Topchii 0.3 126 October, 2, 1992 25

Yonkovo 0.2 67 August 8, 2007 11

Harsovo 0.2 82.6 August 8, 2007 12

Tsar Kaloyan 0.3 291 July 7, 2007 31 121 mm; 2 cases in 2007

Kubrat 0.2 77.5 September 5, 1999 12

Sitovo 0.2 66.4 September 5, 1999 11

Kaynardzha 0.1 75 September 4, 1999 12

Dulovo 0.2 109 September 5, 1999 16

Novi Pazar 0.1 192.2 July 3, 2005 18

Harsovo, Shumen.

0.4 85 August 28, 2006 19

Todor Ikonomovo

0.2 94.5 August 29, 2006 17

Venets 0.3 112.2 August 29, 2006 16 102,5

Karapelit 0.4 103 May 23, 2008 19 2 cases in 1999

and 2 in 2008 Vladimirovo 0.3 108 September 4, 1999 20 2 cases in 1999

and 2 in 2008 Vetrino 0.4 75 September 4, 1999 16 2 cases in 2001 Provadiya below 0.1 56.8 July 13, 1994 11



It is clear that by applying the percentage criterion, it is possible to distinguish, not only the extreme maximum rainfalls, but also the frequency rate of smaller precipitation quantities, which would not be included the category “heavy”

and “hazardous” if using the absolute value criterion.

When studying every case of those with 24-hour maximum precipitation above 10%, it can be noticed that in the majority of stations, at least one case of rainfall amount above 15% is recorded.

Larger rate (over 20%) of annual precipitation amounts is registered in the following cases - Samuil in 2006 (158 mm - 23%), Topchii in 1992 (126 mm - 25%) and Tsar Kaloyan in 2007 (291 mm - 30 %). The last one is ranked in the list of absolute maximum 24-hour precipitation quantities in North-Eastern Bulgaria - above 250 mm. Those are cases of record elemental rainfalls, as the consequences were natural disasters. They are stated as absolute maximum quantities for Bulgaria in scientific literature, namely - in the town of Varna in August 1951 (258 mm) and the resort of St. Konstantine (342 mm) (Geography of Bulgaria, Sofia, 2002).

The risky natural phenomena in North-Eastern Bulgaria are also facilitated by the considerable number of registered cases of precipitation quantities above 100 mm and by the cases with two rainfalls above 10% in one year.

From a genetic point of view, the 24-hour precipitation maximums are determined by the moist and unstable air masses pushing in/penetrating through cold fronts of the Atlantic cyclones and colder and occlusion fronts of the Mediterranean cyclones. Considerable precipitation amounts are recorded in the presence of well-developed cyclones or occlusion, as a cold front of cyclones, when the effect of the cold front in the precipitation field is intensified by strong thermal convection. It is also essentially affected by the processes, provoking intramass precipitations.

The concentration of extreme heavy rainfalls in the region is due mainly to the relief, namely the plateaus and heights there. Those places, with the highest precipitation frequency rate by applying the Fukui criterion, are defined by the orography. This regularity is also determined by other authors, who analyzed the precipitation within the region (Tishkov, Vladev, 1999).

According to Koleva and Peneva (1990), in the regions with moderate continental climate, such as the analyzed region, the 24-hour precipitation maximums are recorded in May and June (20-30% of all cases). The frequency rate remains high in July and August: 10-15%. It decreases in autumn, and reaches its minimum in winter - around 0-5%.

The application of the percentage criterion when studying the period between 1992 and 2008 shows different trends in the interannual variability of precipitation maximums distribution. The greatest number of registered cases is in September (27% of all cases of rainfalls above 10% of the annual precipitation amount); then comes August (24%) and July (15%). The frequency rate is low during spring (3-5%), as its value is higher in January (9%). In none of the



analyzed stations in North-Eastern Bulgaria during February 24-hour rainfall fitting the Fukui criterion has been registered.


The high frequency rate in August and September coincides with the frequent dry periods that are typical for the climate in North-Eastern Bulgaria.

During those months, the dry periods last for 16-19 days, on average; and the periods over 20 days - 21-24 days and nights (Tetovski, 2004). The combination of these conditions serves as a ground for the formation of catastrophic high waters and with significant consequences - destruction of the surface soil layer, intensified erosion processes, mud streams, landslides activation (Penkov, 2002).

The concentration of a large number of stations with considerable precipitation maximums frequency rate above 10% in North-Eastern Bulgaria (one of the driest regions in the country, as previously mentioned), indicates the vulnerability of this territory to extreme rainfalls (past and future) and the subsequent consequences.

The high waters are typical features of the effluent variability of the rivers, flowing through the territory of North-Eastern Bulgaria. In most cases, it causes floods with significant damages. Erosion and accumulation processes appear because the dried soil (especially during summer and at the beginning of autumn) lay down the conditions for the formation of mud and stone streams when raining heavily. The heavy day and night precipitations determine the activation of landslides (not only along the Black Sea coast, but also inland).

Some of the biggest floods, which caused significant property damages to people and nature, are recorded in North-Eastern Bulgaria. For example, as a result of the heavy rainfalls during July 2005, the Provadiyska River and the Golyama Kamchiya River swept over buildings, roads and farm lands. In August 2007, Tsar Kaloyan municipality declared emergency to pouring rainfalls which caused a small dam to overflow and the Hlebarovska River, tributary of the Beli Lom River burst its banks. The consequences were: flooded buildings and roads and 8 casualties. In September, Rusenski Lom River overflowed buildings and farm lands. It resulted from torrential rainfalls. More examples can further be given.


The main conclusions to be drawn about the 24-hour precipitation maximums in North-Eastern Bulgaria by applying the 10% percentage criterion are the following:

In the period between 1992 and 2008 at least one case of 24-hour precipitation above the limit of 10% has been recorded in 21 out of 24 researched weather stations. This is a very significant phenomenon regarding the considerable short duration of the studied period (17 years).

Five of all stations registered frequency rate 0.3 and four stations - even 0.4 (i.e. at every 2.5-3 years have been recorded rainfall quantities of 10% above the



annual precipitation amount). This frequency rate is high regarding the weather conditions in Bulgaria.

The repetition of 24-hour precipitation maximums, above the 10% limit, in North-Eastern Bulgaria is the greatest in August and September, when dry periods are the most frequent. The combination of these weather conditions lay down the foundations for elemental natural phenomena in the region, causing considerable negative consequences for nature and community.


FUKUI, E., (1970), Distribution of extraordinarily heavy rainfalls in Japan, Geographical Review of Japan, 43-10, p. 581-593

GOLUB E., (1973), Spatial and time characteristics of heavy rainfalls, In: Hazardous hydrometeorological phenomena in the Ukrainian Carpathians, p. 46-54

KOLEVA E., PENEVA R., (1990), Climate guide - Precipitations in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia

KYUCHUKOVA, M., (1991), Droughts, In: The climate in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, p. 238-240

PENKOV I., (2002), Territorial distribution of 24-hour precipitation maximums in Northeastern Bulgaria by percenrage criterion, Symposium from a science conference in memory of Prof. D.Yaranov, Varna, p. 122-132

SUEVA, V., (1960), Characteristics of maximum daily rainfall in Northeastern Bulgaria, Hydrology and meteorology, № 2, p.53-62

TETOVSKI M., (2004), Dry periods in Northeastern Bulgaria, Symposium “Natural sciences”, Shumen, p. 373- 378

TISHKOV H, D. Vladev, (1999), Potentially dangerous (risk) precipitations in Bulgaria, Scientific Session "25 years University of Shumen”, p. 159-167

TOPLIYSKI D., (2006), The climate in Bulgaria, Sofia VELEV, St., (1990), The climate in Bulgaria. Sofia, p.73-88

VLADEV D, CHENKOVA N., STANKOVA S., PENERLIEV M., VLADEVA P., KRASTEV T., (2010), Degree Evaluation of the Extreme (Heavy) Precipitations Vulnerability in Northeastern Bulgaria, Shumen University year-book, volume XXB4, Shumen, p. 23-36

*** (2002), Geography of Bulgaria, ForCom, Sofia




UNIVERSITATEA DIN CRAIOVA Seria: Geografie Vol. 14 (new series) – 2011

Vol. 14 (serie nouă) – 2011





Abstract: The Danube and the Douro rivers are geographic objects of international importance as a result of their direct influence on the territories surrounding them.

The present article attempts to make a geographic parallel on the importance of both rivers in their respective geographic locations - Southwest Europe and Southeast Europe. It explores the influence of Douro River on Northern Portugal and the Atlantic, as well as the history of the Eastern-European people who resided alongside the Danube River. Moreover, it also examines the future of the lands they occupy.

Key-words: integration, rivers, the Danube, the Douro Cuvinte cheie: integrare, râuri, Dunărea, Duero

During the last decades of the 20th century, humankind enters upon a new information era when globalization in all spheres changes the conditions for existence of the elements of the social system – politics, science, education, economics and culture. The Danube River is not only a natural Northern border of Bulgaria, but also a main socio-cultural axis and a bridge connecting it with the European family. It is a window on the culture of the Old continent and a connecting section in contemporary integration processes.

Bulgaria is the Southeastern gateway of Europe to the Near East. Its territory acts like a bridgehead to the European values, and also a condition for the more effective uniting of the continent in global aspect. Geographically situated in the periphery, this position has some advantages – direct contact with other continents, other cultures, generating a buffer territory effect, which can have a strengthening influence on the state.

1 Department of Geography, “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria



The diversity of cultures, the result of different manners, customs and traditions involves a lot of spectra, but also demands consolidation. It is based on the main infrastructure lines of communication in Europe, one of which is the Danube. The river has uniting functions and “takes care of” straight corresponding with its state territories as well as remote lands.

The Danube is the longest European river after Volga, but it is most cosmopolitan. The outlet to its banks offers incredible chances to many countries.

Through the river they project in the spiritual and economic life of the continent and the planet.

The Danube has the role of a uniting life-giving force for Bulgaria. Through it, in our country comes the whiff of European culture – first in Vidin and Ruse and later in the interior of the country.

The topic examining the Danube has a huge scientific file and presenting whatever aspect of it is too obliging.

It demands two main questions to be clarified: to clarify the meaning of the term ‘borders’ as a cultural and political marker of human development and to compare the definition of ‘our’ Northern, historical, geographical and cultural border with the emblematic meaning of the river as a factor of the trans-border cultural, political and economic activity of the countries from Central and South- Eastern Europe.

Comparative and descriptive methods, as well as actual statistical data from the National Statistical Institute and Eurostat have been used.

Etymology and Geography

There is no other river in the world with so many names – Istros, Danuvius, Dunaj, Duna, Duná, Tuna, Dunav, Dunărea… and having such a rich biography – both geographical and historical. Its riversides have been crossed by Thracians, Celtics, Scythians, Romans, Hellenes, Bulgarians... The river curve has been the outline of empires, the beginning of a new life for many peoples, but also a reason for conflicts and wars.

The Danube is the only river, flowing from the West to the East, crossing the continent against the logic of geological structures. That’s why it is difficult to find aa better symbol of natural unity of Europe. The distance from its sources in the Schwarzwald Mountains in Germany to its delta, where it flows into the Black Sea through three branches – Chilia, Sulina and Saint George – is 2,859 km.

The Danube becomes navigable after it receives a lot of Alpine tributaries.

About 30 from its 300 feeders are also navigable. Its tributaries come from seven other countries, besides these through which it flows. Some of them are important rivers, navigable for barges and shallow-draft river ships. More important are: the Inn (flowing into the Danube near Passau), the Morava, the Drava, the Tisa, the Sava (influx near Belgrade) and the Prut. In some places, the Danube reaches more than 30 m in depth.



Many of the Bulgarian rivers run into the Danube and the majority of them are artefacts of the social and economic development of the country. In that sense, they are also historical and geographical cultural markers.

The Timok river has a specific position in the Bulgarian space and time.

Its name derives from the Thracian ‘dark’, i.e. dark river. The Roman castle Tierna was situated on its mouth.

Afterwards, the following rivers are: the Topolovets, the Voinishka, the Vidbol, the Lom, the Skat, the Ogosta (named after the Roman fortress Augusta).

The Iskar river (Oskios, later Eskus), is the biggest Bulgarian feeder and is in many ways unique: the oldest river on the Balkan peninsula and the only one which kept its initial flow after the big changes of the earth surface; the only river that rises from South Bulgaria (the Rila Mountains), crosses over the Stara Planina, forming the incredible Iskar gorge (an inspiration for many popular Bulgarian poets and writers); and the only catchment area on the Bulgarian territory that is situated between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea.

The Vit river has a relatively large catchment basin and asymmetrical valleys. Close to its mouth traces of the Roman fortress Utus have been found.

In 1877 at the mouth of the Tekirdere river the Russian army crossed the Danube.

The Yantra river has the biggest catchment basin (7,861 sqkm). The river formes picturesque curves around the hills of the old Bulgarian capital Turnovo (Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, Sveta Gora); before it runs into the Danube, the Yantra river makes the confluence with its left feeder, the Studena river. Close by, the Roman castle Yatrus is situated.

The Rusenski Lom is the Danube’s largest feeder in the eastern part of the Danube plain. The nature park of the ‘Rusenski Lom’ in the vicinity of Ivanovo village is the home of the monastery St. Archangel Michael, which is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.

The islands in the Bulgarian section of the Danube:

Bulgaria has 57 Danube islands which are estimated to 86 square km.

The Vardim island is 4.9 squarekm (right after Belene). The reserve ‘The old oak’ is situated on its territory.

Opposite to Batin island, the remains of the Roman castle Sakidava can be found.

Close to the city of Ruse is the island Lulak (Lilac).

Historical notes

A bridge to Western Europe, but also between Western Europe and the Black Sea, the road giving access to Constantinople, as if the Danube has accumulated in itself the main history of the Balkans – “historical”, as well as mythologized. If we paraphrase the most generalized meaning of the name of the



Danube river – “flow, run through”, the flowing “through time, space, people”, the Danube is the “eyewitness” of the earliest civilization activities of peoples, inhabiting from antiquity the wide geographical region through which it flows.

Being a main waterway through mainland and at the same time border, dividing this mainland, it has attracted to itself in its valley different ethnoses. For the time of its existence, at least in the memory of people (mythological and historical), the Danube unites and disunites, disunites and unites unusually wide conglomeration of peoples, languages and traditions. In this sense, it has always been and it remains a giant bridge/mediator and in the same time – a border.

Especially significant is the role of the Danube river in the Slavonic history.

During the centuries of Ottoman rule, when the inconstant political borders from the time of the Balkan Middle Ages lose their concrete outlines, in Bulgarians’

opinion, the Danube is the only one, exactly fixed, and not an imaginary border line, which closes the Bulgarian space.

As a merchant connection, the Danube begins to be used during the 18th century, preserving this significance until now. Mary Theresa, the queen of Hungary from the Habsburg dinasty, forms a group, which had to regulate sailing along the river. It has been considered that the first commercial ship sailing took place in 1830 from Wien to Budapest. During the XIXth century, the Danube becomes an important commercial connection between the Western and the economies of the Balkan peninsula.


The border between Bulgaria and Romania stretches on the distance of 610 km, and 470 km of them follow the stream of the Danube River.

Eight Bulgarian provinces are situated alongside the Bulgarian-Romanian border. They are administrative units (level NUTS III), which belong to the following three regions (level NUTS II):

• provinces Vidin, Vratsa, Montana and Pleven (Severozapaden region);

• provinces Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse and Silistra (Severen tsentralen region);

• province Dobrich (Severoiztochen region).

They cover an area of 32,613 sqkm.


The number of population is 1,841,701, and the average density is 66 people per sqkm. (NSI, 2010).

There are significant differences among the distribution of population between urban and rural inhabited regions, in the presence of high-urbanized provinces on one hand (in Ruse more than 70% of the population lives in towns) and low-urbanized provinces on the other hand (only 45% of the population of Silistra live in towns). The percentage distribution between urban and rural



inhabited regions is almost 2/3 to 1/3. The demographic tendencies for the region as a whole, show that its population is aging and the labour force is decreasing.

The low density of population and the model of scattered settling outline the peripheral and rural character of the bigger part of the region. The economic status (wage rate, income and employment) of the rural areas is low as a whole.

The general character of changes during the last decade supposed the concentration of population around larger settlements. In the whole cross-border region, especially rural areas suffered from the constant migration.


The economic results of border territories are very weak, as compared to the average standards of the European Union member states. GDP per capita of the population in the region is 3,400 euro (2008) lower compared to the average GDP of Bulgaria – 4,700 euro and that of the EU – 28,100 euro (Еurostat, 24.02.2011).

In the economic structure, traditionally dominates agriculture (especially under irrigation). The specialisation is based mainly on production of grain crops, vegetables, grapes and fruits, complemented by the stock-breeding sector. The predominant small family farms are distinguished by low productivity.

Industry develops mainly in town centres. In many cases, industry is represented by enterprises, connected with worsening production and they need reorganization. There are main economic centres as Pleven, Vratsa and Ruse, in which enterprising activity, foreign investments and productivity are relatively high.

There are good opportunities for the development of economic tourism (The Baba Vida Fortress, The Belogradchik Rocks, The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Lake Srebarna - a biosphere reserve under the protection of UNESCO and others.)

The Bulgarian Danubian settlements – cultural-historical markers

Vidin, Lom, Russe, Svishtov, Nikopol, Silistra play a vital role in Bulgaria’s culture and urban development.

Vidin is the first big Bulgarian port, down the Danube. It emerged over the ruins of the old Celtic settlement of Dunonia. Later on, the Romans built a fortress and named it Bononia, called Bdin by the Bulgarians and Vidini by the Greeks.

Since the second half of the 13th century, it became the main town of the Vidin Protectorate and during the second half of the 14th century was the capital of the Vidin Kingdom.

Vidin is the home of a few of the symbols of multiethnic symbiosis, political and cultural development: the wholly preserved medieval fortress Baba Vida; the oldest synagogue in Bulgaria; the mausoleum of exarch Antim I, who was the first Bulgarian exarch and the first chairman of the Bulgarian parliament.

Lom – is founded by the Thracians, who called it Artanes. Later on during the years of the Roman empire the name changed to Almus. Its present name was first mentioned in 1704.



Nikopol – is a successor of the ancient settlements Sekuristika and Nikopolis (‘A City of Victories’). It became an important place during the Ottoman rule due to its strategic location.

Svishtov is the successor of the Roman castle Nove.

Ruse is the biggest and the most ‘European’ city among the Danubian towns. During the Ist century, the ancient fortreess of Sexaginta Prista was built on its grounds. During the IXth–Xth century, it was restored as a medieval Bulgarian settlement called Rusi (Russe). It gradually transformed into a well-embattled fortress, later on called Giurgevgrad.

After the XVIth century, the town became Ruschuk.

Ruse was a part of the defence quadrangle Ruschuk-Silistra-Varna-Shumen during the Ottoman rule.

In 1935, Ruse became the headquarters of the state-owned company Bulgarian river sailing.

The construction of the Danube Bridge as well as the expansion of a ferry line contributed to the economic development of the city.

During the Middle Ages, Silistra pertained the role of an important fortress and a pillar for the Christianization of the population.

During the Ottoman rule, Silistra was a strategic administrative centre as well as one of the main ports along the Danube. After the World War IInd, Silistra was industrialized and industries such as electronics, chemical, textile and furniture production were developed.

The Srebarna Reserve (1997) is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Kozloduy, a hometown to the first and so far only Bulgarian Atomic Power Station; Tutrakan; Archar; Оryahovo; Gigen; Belene.

They had their prime during the Roman empire rule, however, they are of secondary importance during the urbanization along the Danube nowadays.

Only Belene is an exception, due to the fact that the second Atomic Power Station is planned to be built in its vicinity.

The Danubian ports

Lom – The Lom Port Complex, encompassing the ports Lom and Oryahovo is an important transport link to Western Europe and the Rhein- the Main-the Danube Channel.

Svishtov – there are projects major industrial units to be built such as the Hydro-technical complex Nikopol–Turnu Măgurele, the Second Atomic Power Station, etc.

Ruse is second regarding the shipment volumes. It is a focal point of two of the major European corridors – Seven and Nine.

The Bridges

The first Bulgarian Danube bridge was built between Eskus (village of Gigen) and village Celei (Romania). It was opened for land traffic from Constantinople through the Troyan passage to Dakia in 328 AD and was destroyed in 376 AD. Until the middle of the 20th century, attempts for the construction of a new bridge were never made.



The bridge Ruse-Giurgiu (The Bridge of Friendship) was built in 1954. Its meaning increases even more now, with the development of the European Corridor Number Nine (Helsinki–Aleksandropolis).

Negotiations between Bulgaria and Romania led to the agreement of the construction of a new bridge between Vidin and Calafat and are considered to be an important precondition for the development of an European Corridor Number Four (Central Europe-Vidin-Sofia-Thessaloniki), which will arguably stimulate the economic, social and cultural development of Western Bulgaria.

The Danube has been and will be important, because it is:

A ‘river highway’ for transport and shipment.

A local factor for industrialization, in close connection to the import and export along the river.

A factor for the development of agriculture on the productive lands alongside the Danube.

An important factor for the development of industrial and sport fishing, recreation, sport and tourism.

In short, the Danube has been and still is a bridge/mediator and in the same time a border.

That is why when speaking about the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage and its dimensions, we should acknowledge the main influences - ancient, Roman, the most determinative the Byzantine, later on the Ottoman/Islamic, which have developed mainly Southwards of the Danube and the Central European, which were oriented towards the Habsburg Monarchy but have also made an imprint on the Danube.

Geopolitical challenges

We can find them in the sense of the words Aristotle spoke more than 2,300 years ago: “It is not borders that protect rivers, but people!”

In a contemporary geopolitical aspect, the river will not play a dividing barrier role, but the role of an axis of integration, uniting the Danubian countries.

The evidence lies in that they are the economic zones which are being built in its lower course, in the intensification of traffic, expansion of the geography of the European Union in the area of the Lower Danube (Photo 1), the realisation of supraregional and supranational infrastructure, the cultural and socio-economic projects with the active participation and partnership of neighbours, the well- intentioned stretched hand to economic introvert states like Moldova for example.

When we speak about the Bulgarian cultural-historical heritage and look for its Eurocivilization dimensions, we must give an account of the two directions of influence – antique, Roman and mostly determinative Byzantine and later Ottoman-Islamic – which spread out mainly South of the Danube, and Middle- European, orientated towards the Habsburg monarchy, which left its mark on the Danubian space, or, in other words, on the Northern part of Southeastern Europe.



Photo 1. The Danube River

Maybe the most precise and magnificent illustration of the role the Danube has as a mediator, a symbol of communication and sociality and also, of an unusual type of cultural activity, gives the Nobel prize winner Elias Canetti in his book

“The Tongue Set Free” (Die gerettete Zunge). He himself, emblematic for the Balkan-Danubian type of culture – Sefard, who was born in Ruse and wrote in German, presents his “Bulgarian-Danubian childhood” in Ruse (Ruschuk) among Bulgarian, Turks, Sefards, Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, Gipsies, Russians in a unique way:

“Ruschuk, in the lower course of the Danube river, where I came into the world, was a marvellous town for a child, and when I say it was situated in Bulgaria, I don’t give the full idea of it, because there lived people of most different origins and in only one day you could hear seven or eight languages... And from the opposite riverbank Romanians were coming.”

These impressions are the base for the conclusion: “Everything I experienced later, had already happened in Ruschuk.” This is the ethnical, linguistic and therefore cultural diversity, which sets up a puzzle, forming the unique Balkan-Danubian aspect.

The Douro River, a historic waterway in Northern Portugal

The Douro River (Photo 2), the second largest in Portugal, rises in the Urbion Mountain in northern Spain, at about 2,080 meters in altitude, and flows to the sea in Porto, Portugal. Summing up 927 km in length, only 213 run through Portuguese territory, while 112 correspond to the International Douro, a stretch crossed by the border with Spain. It is currently navigable for the last 325 Km, which only became possible after the construction of 5 dams with floodgates, between the 1950s and 1970s, as the only way to overcome the differences in altitude throughout its course, creating large reservoirs with wide-ranging potential (Gonçalves, 1978).

Considered dangerous and “untameable” for centuries, the Douro did however serve as the main access route to the Douro winegrowing region (NE Portugal) for centuries, given the lack of safe land routes. Indeed, it was only



during the 20th century that strategic investments were to be made in access routes, particularly roadways, since the existing ones were scarce and unsafe, subject to regular ambushes, as well as highly deficient technically. Thus, the Douro region was supplied via the Douro River, with provisions, commercial products (among which textiles, metal and chemical products, etc.), and even passengers, and by which regional products were transported, such as fruit, olive oil and cereals, as well as wine, brandy and vinegar (Pina, 2007). However, there were many narrow, silted canals throughout its course, as well as rapids, which made navigation difficult for the boats (Pereira, 2001).

Given its importance to regional development, the Douro River was regularly travelled on, even though the task was quite epic in difficulty, subject to tragedy associated with the need to overcome countless physical obstacles (sandbanks, strong undercurrents, narrow canals), but only thus it was possible to connect Porto to the Douro region until the 19th century.

Photo 2. The Douro River

The importance of this waterway was such that as early as 1502, during the reign of King Manuel I (D’Abreu, 2007), it was determined that all the canals considered necessary were to be opened from its mouth in Porto to the town of S.

João da Pesqueira, where the Cachão da Valeira (waterfall) was located. The advantages of navigating beyond S. João da Pesqueira were also considered at the time, extending navigability to Ribacôa upstream, and perhaps even as far as the kingdom of Castile. There were boats carrying 1,500 to 1,800 bushels of grain which, having reached S. João da Pesqueira, could go no further because of the Cachão da Valeira. The demolition of this waterfall in 1792, as well as other



obstacles, opened up navigation to the border, making the river navigable to the mouth of the Sabor River in 1809 and Barca de Alva in 1811 (Pereira, 2001).

It was however the production of wines of excellence, particularly Port, that drew international renown to the region. The vineyards were expanded to produce this nectar which rapidly conquered England and then the entire world, and once again the Douro River, despite the obstacles along its course, was the means by which, as well as other types of wine, brandies, and vinegars, were transported on small wooden boats called “Rabelos”, built to overcome the “rapids”, to Porto, from where they were exported.

Despite deficiencies in terms of access routes, it was only during the 19th century that investments were to be made in the railway, reaching Régua in 1879. As for the road system, only at the beginning of the 20th century, under the government of João Franco, some efforts were made to expand it, reason by which the Douro River, although having been partially substituted by the “via acellerada” (‘rapid route’) (Pina, 2007), the railway 2, in the second half of the 19th century, remained a major route between Porto and the Douro region. The road network was only really expanded in the 1960s, leading to the transport of wines by truck, and finally to the end of the Douro River as the main access route to the Portuguese NE.

Currently, the main strategy for the Douro is tourism, despite several attempts to increase the waterway’s profitability, such as for example the direct export of granite from northern Portugal to Germany on barges. In 1985, the Gabinete de Navegabilidade do Douro (Douro Navigability Office) was established, lasting until 1994, substituted then by the Instituto de Navegabilidade do Douro (Douro Navigability Institute). The institute’s main goals comprise management of river traffic and several projects which aimed at revitalizing the river banks, apart from the maintenance and signalling the navigable canal.

However, tourism is the main factor underlying the Douro River’s recent revitalization. In all its various dimensions, this activity has boosted the superb heritage surrounding the river. In 1999, over 100,000 tourists travelled the river, and by 2009, the number had risen to about 350,000 (IPTM, 2009), providing these visitors with a sublime scenario, not only in terms of a magnificent landscape, but also a rich architectural, cultural and oenological heritage. The landscape displays human intervention over the centuries, in multiple dimensions such as the economic, social, cultural technical and morphological (Pina, 2008).

The Demarcated Douro Region, a heritage to preserve

The Douro Demarcated Region is a paradigmatic area extending over 250,000 hectares, of which 45,000 are covered by continuous vineyards, offering unforgettable, highly varied landscapes where the terrace dominates. Indeed, it is the only technique possible to overcome the steepness of the slopes surrounding the Douro River, in a valley where schist soils and a Mediterranean-type microclimate

2The railway did not totally substitute the ‘Rabelo’ boat, merely for financial reasons, since it was quite expensive.



are home to specific, regional grape varieties, producing wines of excellence such as Port. Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001, the region was the first to be delimited and regulated as the producer of this nectar as far back as 1756.

This measure led to profound interventions on a harsh landscape where the forests framing the river disappeared, to be replaced by a landscape carved with terraces laden with vines.

Another aspect worth noting is the region’s landscape diversity, derived from different degrees of vine coverage and its morphological characteristics, distinct according to the period analyzed. The terrace as the only technique to grow vines was used in the Douro region for centuries, whereas, as from the 1970s, new technologies and economic imperatives, namely the need to mechanize the vineyards, led to new types of vine morphologies on the landscape. Thus, the traditional terraces, enclosed by dry stone walls, were substituted by the “vinha ao alto” (vertical planting of rows of vines up the face of the slopes) or the “vinha em patamares” (narrower terraces), diversifying the scenario.

But there are many other points of interest along the Douro River’s banks. Although the vine will always be the region’s economic mainstay, other potentialities have emerged, holistically taking advantage the different spatial dimensions (Pina, 2010). This is the case of a vast and diversified cultural and built heritage. Leaving the historical city of Porto with its 240,000 inhabitants (INE, 2001), Portugal’s second largest city, and travelling upstream to the Douro Demarcated Region, manor houses from the 18th and 19th centuries appear, dispersed throughout the slopes, part of wine estates and surrounded by vineyards.

In other places, one can find a concentration of buildings from those same centuries, offering a remarkable wealth of fine architecture. There are also urban centres, home to an outstanding architectural heritage, as well as classified and protected areas. Centres such as Vila Real, the district capital that developed on the crossway of the main regional access routes. The town underwent profound development dynamics in the 1970s following the establishment of the Polytechnic Institute, today the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro. Religious architecture abounds (churches, chapels, etc.) from different eras, apart from the Mateus Palace, located in the parish next to the urban centre, a prime example of Baroque architecture in northern Portugal, built under the aegis of Nicolau Nazoni;

the town of Peso da Régua, called the “Port wine capital”, or Torre de Moncorvo and Vale da Vilariça, and still Freixo de Espada à Cinta, a Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) town close to the border with Spain. On the river’s left bank, there is Lamego, an episcopal town with a remarkable history and heritage covering different periods. Going further East, we come across the towns of Tabuaço and S.

João da Pesqueira, with their manor houses and cultural wealth. Lastly, one cannot ignore the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, also classified by UNESCO, and the Douro International Natural Park, with its cliffs and promontories, aimed at preserving the local fauna and flora. It is the valuable landscape and architectural diversity that stands out in the Douro Valley, in which the Douro Demarcated Region undoubtedly occupies a privileged place.


23 A few concluding remarks

To sum up, the strategies historically associated with the Douro River were based on the trade of merchandise as a means to revitalize and boost NE Portugal, whereas, as from the 1980s, tourism came to be seen as the “magical” solution to development, contributing to achieving the goals set out in regional spatial planning proposals, namely the “Plano de Desenvolvimento Turístico do Vale do Douro 2007-2013” (Douro Valley Tourism Development Plan 2007-2013) (Magalhães, 2008). The aim is the growing enhancement of the Douro and, most particularly, of the Douro Demarcated Region, viewed as a priority ‘hub’ in the development of tourism in northern Portugal.

Despite the existing deficiencies, the Douro River presents a heritage full of history, successes and difficult moments, derived from its natural setting, particularly the steepness of its slopes, and where this waterway played a crucial role within the regional dynamics. Having received differing degrees of attention throughout its history, including periods where it was practically ignored, the river today enjoys a new opportunity to revive the experiences rooted in its banks. Apart from the tourism dimension, advantage should be taken of the river’s hydroelectric potential (Leitão, 2001), dissected by dams with floodgates, thus also contributing to the development of a modern, safe communication route able to boost and preserve the cultural and social identity of the Douro wine country. The potential of the landscape as well as the environmental, social, cultural, oenological and gastronomic dimensions can thus be taken advantage of and enhanced.

The Douro River, bearing in mind the different scales, presents similarities with the history and dynamics of the Danube River, but also great differences. It was for centuries the main access route to the Upper Douro and, following the delimitation of the Douro Demarcated Region in 1756, comprised the prime means by which wine products were transported from the region, particularly Port wine.

Its importance gradually declined with the construction of the railway as from 1879, and later, from the 1960s given the government’s preference for roadways.

However, following the construction of several dams to regulate its discharge and, particularly, the winegrowing region’s classification as World Heritage in 2001, in recognition of its landscape, architectural, cultural and oenological heritage, the river has been revived as a strategic axis, particularly from a tourism perspective.

Thus, the preservation/revitalization of the Douro region can be boosted.

If Bulgaria is the Southeastern gateway towards Europe, Portugal is the Southwestern one. And one house must have some exits leading to the world. We Bulgarians and the Portuguese are predestined by one fate – to revive hopes and to give benevolent shelter to anybody, who recognizes us as friends. Both peoples, at least in our mind, are such. This makes us members of one family, grown and preserved due to our common affection.

The Danube and the Douro Rivers, two watercourses surrounded by distinct landscape and cultural settings, but whose destiny reveals many similarities.



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UNIVERSITATEA DIN CRAIOVA Seria: Geografie Vol. 14 (new series) – 2011

Vol. 14 (serie nouă) – 2011




Abstract: The present paper discusses the division of some sub-basins in the Danube River Basin Directorate. It proposes the division of the main river basin the Ogosta and the rivers west of the Ogosta and the unification of the catchment of the Erma and the Nishava River in a major river basin. This suggestion is based on the similarity of natural features, hydrographic and hydrological parameters and typification of water bodies according to UE Water Framework Directive. The result will be a better water management in these river basins.

Key-words: the Danube River Basin Directorate, major basins, hydrographic and hydrological parameters

Cuvinte cheie: Administraţia Bazinală a Fluviului Dunărea, bazine principale, parametrii hidrografici şi hidrologici


EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60) establishes a single classification of surface water system for the first time. It separates the aquatic ecosystems in several groups arranged in strict subordination: eco-regions, categories water ecosystems (river, lake, coastal waters and transitional water), types of water ecosystem, water bodies – unit for assessment and management of waters.

Meanwhile, at the core of the Directive is an integrated approach for sustainable water management in the river basin. According to Water Framework Directive, the EU member states have to identify all the river basins lying within their territory and assign them to individual river basins. For the management of the water basin, 4 Basin Directorates were established by the Ministry of Environment and Water in 2002-2003 – Danube district, Black Sea district, East Aegean district, West Aegean district. The Danube River Basin Directorate coincides with the Danube hydro-geographical region and covers 47,235 sqkm (42.5% of Bulgaria). It includes the catchment areas of the tributaries of the Danube River. There are 15

1 Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Geology and Geography, Bulgaria



tributaries of the Danube on the territory of Bulgaria. Fourteen rivers flow into the Danube directly. The Nishava River is a tributary of the Juzna Morava. The Danube Dobrudja Rivers, which have surface runoff in their upper sections, flow into the main river in the underground. Each of the tributaries forms its own river system and can be regarded as the main river in the Danube hydro-geographical region. The River Basin Management Plan (2003, 2010) identifies nine major river basins into the Danube drainage area without any criteria. This division does not correspond to the natural differentiation and to the scientific investigations, published in Hydrological Atlas of Bulgaria (1964).

This work proposes the division of the river basin “Ogosta and rivers west from the Ogosta” and the unification of the basins of the Erma and the Nishava rivers. This idea is based on complex parameters: hydrographic characteristics, river regime, annual river discharge, number of water bodies, dominant flowing water types, use of water resources.

Data and methods

In the hydrological literature of Bulgaria there are not strict rules or scientific methodology for defining the major river basins. The only differentiation, published in Hydrological Atlas of Bulgaria (1964), used is the size of the catchment area. Thus, in the Danube hydro-geographical region there are identified nine major river basins – the Lom, the Ogosta, the Iskar, the Vit, the Osam, the Yantra, the Russenski Lom, the Danube Dobrudja Rivers and the Nishava. The other three tributaries - the Topolovets, the Tsibritsa and the Skat, are defined as watersheds of the first rank with catchment areas above 500 sqkm. The Voinishka, the Vidbol, the Archar and the Skomlja rivers have not been included in any category. Sarafska (2000) uses the catchment area (the length of the river) for the hydrographic classification and proposes six categories (extra small - up to 10 sqkm and up to 20 sqkm, small – L = 10.1 - 20.0 km, F = 20.1 - 100.0 sqkm, medium – L = 20.1 - 50.0 km, F = 100.1 - 500.0 sqkm, medium-large – L = 50.1 - 100.0 km, F = 500.1 – 2,000.0 sqkm, large – L = 100.1 - 200.0 km, F = 2000.1 – 10 000.0 sqkm, extra large (L above 200.0 km, F above 10,000.0 sqkm) for scientific investigation and three categories for simple usage. The parameters for the characterization of the flowing water types using System A according to WFD are: Altitude (high > 800 m, mid-altitude – 200 - 800 m, lowland < 200 m), Catchment area (small: 10 – 100 sqkm, medium: 100 – 1,000 sqkm; big 1,000 – 10,000 sqkm; very big 10,000 sqkm) and Geology (calcareous, siliceous, organic).

This classification refers to the water bodies, which are defined for each river, but this work will use it for the classification of major rivers. So, the size of watershed is the first mark for establishing major river basins. The mean annual stream flow and water regime are important hydrological characteristics and they are the next sign for differentiation in this work. The type of stream flow regime for Bulgaria is defined by Hristova (2004) and this work will use it. Arguments for the proposed changes in the definition of major river basins are flowing water types, specified in the River Basin Management Plan (2010) and prevalent type of water consumption.



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