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Screenshot – consultation meeting for the Chorokhi Ajaristskali River Basin Management Plan – Appendix on coastal and transitional waters ©REC Caucasus

 

On 5 May 2021 in Batumi, 30 participants were consulted on the future of their coastal waters. The new part of the Chorokhi-Ajaristskali River Basin Management Plan concerning coastal and transitional waters was presented to members of the government and parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, municipalities, water and waste management companies, representatives of Batumi Port Authorities and the tourist industry, as well as environmental associations and the university. Participants were invited to give their opinion on the measures proposed to maintain healthy coastal water ecosystems in order to ensure high-value services to people and the economy.  

The Chorokhi-Ajaristskali River Basin Management Plan was initially developed within another EU-funded project in 2016. In addition, the European Union’s project  “Water Initiative Plus for Eastern Partnership countries” (EUWI+) supported Georgia to update and upgrade essential elements of the plan by including coastal waters and transitional waters (located in the vicinity of river mouths, which feature a mixture of saline and freshwater). EUWI+ supported the upgrade of the Chorokhi-Ajaristskali river basin management plan by providing methodology to delineate coastal and transitional water bodies, supporting the organisation of several field surveys for coastal and transitional waters in 2019 and 2020, and providing recommendations in terms of monitoring aspects and necessary measures (actions) to reach environmental objectives. Public consultation is another essential step to move towards best EU practices in terms of water management. This approach involves the local population to ensure that they are informed about the draft content of plans and give them an opportunity to express their opinion before their completion.  

 

 

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Screenshot – consultation meeting for the Chorokhi Ajaristskali River Basin Management Plan – Appendix on coastal and transitional waters ©REC Caucasus

 

In 2021, two other management plans for Georgia’s Alazani-Iori and Khrami-Debed river basins are being developed by EUWI+. These plans also went through a public consultation process in 2019 and 2020 in order to involve local stakeholders in identifying the main issues and establishing measures. River basin management planning is an effective management tool to maintain a balance between the environment and economic development. 

The European Union Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) in Georgia

Over the last ten years, the European Union has provided significant technical and financial support to improve water policies to the benefit of Georgian people and the environment. Since 2016, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia has partnered with peers in the European Union through the European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership (EUWI+). As part of its commitments under the Association Agreement, Georgia is aligning its national policies and strategies with the EU Water Framework Directive as well as Marine Strategy Framework Directive, by transposing these Directives into its national legislation and by updating and developing River Basin Management Plans in pilot river basins.