Vjosa Park Kombëtar

The threat

For years, the entire river system has been attacked by dam projects. If constructed, they will destroy this natural environment – flooding some parts of the valley while leaving others dry. In the whole Vjosa catchment, 45 hydropower plants are planned, 8 on the Vjosa itself and 37 on its tributaries.

Three tributaries, the Langarica, the Shtika and the Çarshova river are already affected by dams and cannot be part of a future national park.

But the major threat that Vjosa is facing for the last 24 years is the plan for the construction of 2 large dams in the middle section of the river, namely: Kalivaç and Poçem hydropower dams.

But also the lower part of the Vjosa is in danger. Near the mouth of the Vjosa into the Adriatik, the Albanian government plans to build an airport inside a protected area and tourist resorts are foreseen to be built near Narta lagoon. The decision on the determination of the boundaries of the Protected Areas in Albania foresees the exclusion from the Narta Protected Area of the surface that will be potentially used for the construction of the Airport and the touristic resorts.

In September 2020, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced his intent to make the Vjosa a national park. However, the government has not taken any clear steps towards this designation. Plans submitted by the Albanian National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) include only minimal protection for the Vjosa, risking future hydropower construction, and falls far short of the protections inherent in a national park designation. Some politicians want to keep the door open for development after the elections and this puts the Vjosa in real danger.