International Water Research Alliance Saxony

The Region

The Western Bug is a transboundary river and divides its catchment between Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland. The river originates in Western Ukraine, becomes bordering river between Ukraine and Poland, further downstream between Belarus and Poland, and flows subsequently into the Narev, and the Vistula. It is part of the Baltic Sea catchment. The IWAS project focuses especially on surface waters and on the catchment itself in the territory of Ukraine.

The catchment has a total area of 40,000 km², of which about 11,000 km² are located in Ukraine. The Western Bug has an average water flow of 30 l/s at the source area and about 41 m³/s at Stryzów, at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Since the river morphology is largely intact, the environmental stress is primary caused by chemical and biological pollution. These pressures are mainly induced by outdated sewage treatment plants, intensive agriculture, mining, and pesticide storage facilities.

Karte des Einzugsgebiets des Bug (Zufluss der Weichsel)

Objectives and contents

Within the framework of the IWAS project, concepts for an efficient improvement of the surface water quality will be developed for the catchment area of the Western Bug. Therefore, all dynamic and chronic point and diffuse sources, the internal structure of water bodies and socio-economic and institutional conditions are taken into account.
A model concept is developed for the integrated analysis of the potential entry pathways, that allows examining the current situation, projections for different scenarios as well as the assessment of different courses of action. An important step in the implementation of the model approach is the test and application of strategies to address data gaps, which are developed jointly with Ukrainian partners.
Concrete steps for the analysis of the current status are:

  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis of surface waters and a detailed survey of the available water yield.
  • Analysis and assessment of point (industrial and municipal wastewater) and diffuse pollution sources (agriculture).
  • Model-based assessment of the relevant input sources as well as transport and transformation processes.
  • Identification of the driving forces in the human-environment system: retrospective analysis of the land use/ land cover change as well as analysis of the legal and institutional constraints.

With regard to the overall goals of improving the water quality and the optimization of ecosystem services in the study area, specific topics and certain investigation areas were prioritized after the analysis of the current state. Regional scenarios are developed and parameterized on the basis of climate and land use projections. They are made available for a coupled modelling, allowing model-based forecasts. E. g., an optimal sequence of efficient remediation steps as combination of emission principle and "modern immission principle" - will be developed including internal waters measures, too. This includes innovative processes of waste water treatment as well as the reduction of the industrial inputs. The approach will finally lead to vivid and actionable recommendations for water service companies, including cost estimates for required actions. The models project fits into the process of integrated water management of river basins in Ukraine. The expected results serve as an important support for the scientific community, for the Vodokanal companies, for policy but also for organizations, and administrations.

Capacity Development

An essential part of the IWAS initiative is the development of adaptation strategies, tools, and methods that can be sustainably implemented in the regional projects. An essential part is therefore the development of appropriate approaches for knowledge transfer and capacity development (CD).
The basis for the strategy of CD for Eastern Europe is the general IWAS CD concept that was adapted to the objectives and needs of the region. CD measures are proposed to improve local skills on the basis of the region-specific CD concept and in consultation with relevant associates. Partners in this project are in general academic institutions on the regional and national level, Vodokanal companies, and environmental and water authorities.
Measures may be different in their nature. They should not serve only for staff development, but also for the strengthening of institutions and thus contribute indirectly to the strengthening of the political and social system: education and training of practitioners and managers in the Vodokanal companies, support of scientific training, knowledge sharing and transfer, and strengthening of the river basin management by improving the cooperation between the authorities concerned. The construction of efficient networks in academic as well as in economic sectors is crucial for the success of applied measures, in order to guarantee the exchange of experiences. At present, a network of water and wastewater companies (Ukrvodokanalekologia) is strengthened under consideration of the institutional design of the wastewater sector in Ukraine.

Working groups, work packages

Contact and further information

Prof. Thomas Berendonk (TU Dresden):
Gunda Röstel (Stadtentwässerung Dresden):
Jörg Seegert (TU Dresden):
Corinna Weigelt (DREBERIS GmbH):
Olena Wolf (TU Dresden):


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