Main Courses of Action in the Serbian Water Sector: An Example From a Transition Country

Milan Dimkić1, Miodrag Milovanović2, Slađana Milojković1, Svetlana Varga1, Slobodan Petković1 and Dejan Dimkić1



1 Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources, Jaroslava Černog 80, 11226, Belgrade, Serbia

2 Corresponding author: Fax: +381 11 3906481, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Guidelines for defining the main courses of action in the Serbian water sector are presented in the paper; they are based on assessments of the current status of water resources and the water management system, an analysis of socioeconomic circumstances, and the requirements that need to be met in order to upgrade the water sector to a desirable level, within both the local framework and that resulting from potential intensification of EU integration processes. The present paper builds on the previous paper published in Water Research and Management, Volume 1, Number 4: “Sustainable and Adaptive Water Management: Case Study of Water Management in Serbia”, but it focuses on the need to create a suitable system in the water sector, or, in other words, to ensure appropriate social, institutional, economic, infrastructure and other prerequisites for achieving set water sector objectives, and also addresses prioritizing.

Keywords: water management, transition countries, climate change, Serbia




Increasing attention is being paid to water resources throughout the world, primarily due to pressures brought about by population growth but also in light of projected climate change impacts. Global economic trends are also shifting, rendering the support to water sector advancement rather complex, both in countries that need assistance and those that are able to provide it.

On the other hand, the stereotype has often been to make water management uniform and propose the same solutions and guidelines for essentially different countries, river basins and regions.

There are different types of transition countries at this time, ranging from those on the verge of acquiring the status of rich countries to those that are extremely poor. Also, some of the countries have abundant water resources, while others are forced to cope with scarcity or the threat of scarcity due to potential climate change.

Despite worldwide efforts during the past several decades, many countries in Africa and some countries in Asia still suffer from water deficits and even more so from a lack of basic sanitation. Richer transition countries have largely resolved water supply and basic sanitation issues, but they strive to achieve higher standards that are required or expected today.

When we speak of resolving these issues, we often focus on what needs to be done and not as much on how it should be done. Problems are often tackled on a case-by-case basis and addressed by means of loans, grants, concessions and the like. However, the effectiveness of such an approach is highly dubious, given that the countries that receive assistance are often unprepared to sustain and improve such a system.

Therefore, apart from goals such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), objectives should be set for advancing national water management systems (institutional and socioeconomic), in order to solve these problems more efficiently on a global scale.