Friday 3 September 16:45 > 17:00

Towards a sustainable water resources management in post-lignite era: the case of Western Macedonia, Greece

Dr. Polytimi Farmaki Mr. Apostolos Tranoulidis Prof. Rafaella-Eleni Sotiropoulou Prof. Efthimios Tagaris
Session: 37(V) Hydrology and water resources
CEST ID: 303 ROOM: VR1 Paper Presentation
In 2018, Public Power Corporation (PPC) employed 15,000 employees in the energy sector, mainly in lignite production, providing electricity to 6,900,000 customers in Greece. The total confirmed lignite reserves amount to 5 billion tons mostly resourced (1.8 billion tons) in the Western Macedonia Region (WMR, Ptolemaida, Amynteo and Florina) followed by Drama, Eastern Macedonia (900 tons) and Megalopolis in the Peloponnese (223 million tons) (PPC 2020). Given recent decisions regarding a European Green Deal for the European Union (EU) and its citizens and the Greek government’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for climate and energy issues, setting out a detailed roadmap regarding the attainment of specific energy and climate objectives by 2030, it appears that lignite has no future and Greece has to be prepared for the post-mining era. Especially in the water sector, authorities must face the significant impacts of both, mining operations and Coal-fired power plants on water quantity and quality. Mining operations can have severe impacts on water supplies, involving contamination of nearby rivers, lakes and aquifers with metals and acids, while the use of water in the power plants to cool the condenser units, have major effects on water quality. Within the scope of this study, we assessed both the Just Transition Development Plan of lignite areas in Greece and the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) of Western Macedonia River Basin District (GR09) and we recorded the status of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation in this field. We also studied the complexity in resolving the conflicts between the Development Plan, water resources management and environmental protection. Finally, given the environmental and economic issues in water management broached by WFD we investigated possible changes and additions to both the Development Plan and the RBMP 09 in order to meet WFD objectives. Building a comprehensive sustainability strategy requires the assessment of long-term impacts of mining activities before and after the mine closures on the environmental, economic and social parameters and promote future protection of earth’s resources.