Aquatic ecosystems are valuable resources, which offer a range of services both for maintaining the quality of the environment and for human development. The alarming rate of depletion and degradation of riparian aquatic ecosystems is of a national and international concern.
Hydropower developments can have adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems, influencing hydrological regime, water quality, production and destruction processes, aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity development, which also have a direct impact on the quality of human life. Construction and operation of the hydropower complex on the Dniester River have generated difficult problems related to environmental, economic and social issues. Continuing the extension of the hydro-technical construction on the Upper Dniester can further aggravate the negative consequences on the middle and lower Dniester, especially in the context of climate change.
The need for the Hydroeconex project was based on the common challenges of the partner countries linked to the operation of hydrotechnical constructions, which caused modifications of the water level in transboundary aquatic ecosystems (Romania-Moldova, Ukraine-Moldova), particularly under the conditions of intensification of the drought conditions during the last years. A decrease in the negative effects of the Dniester and Prut river ecosystems requires consolidation of the efforts of various groups of actors, including research institutions, NGOs, and decision-makers. The HydroEcoNex project contributes to this by developing a unified system of monitoring system and a common set of indicators for impact assessment for Dniester and Prut cross-border rivers and identifying problems related to their implementation. By applying the most promising environmental monitoring and assessment practices downstream of hydroelectric dams of these rivers, combined with an economic analysis of lost ecosystem services and historical information on climate change and water level of these rivers, a transboundary monitoring system innovative ecosystems of the Black Sea basin will be established. This system will be incorporated into a bilateral co-operation strategy on joint monitoring of cross-border rivers affected by hydropower.
The project is relevant to the Black Sea Basin Program through its contribution to coordinating environmental protection for cross-border rivers affected by hydropower and climate change.