Kosovo marked 10 years of independence in February and is now recognized as a sovereign by 113 UN members. Even 10 years on, however, the country relies heavily on US and European support. The Czechs are among those who are providing help.
The Czech Republic has played a role in helping in Kosovo through its development agency which funded a waste water treatment plant at Badovac Lake, one of the main sources of drinking water for the city of Gračanica and one of the main accessible resources of drinking water for the state’s capital, Pristina. The Czech commitment to cleaning waste water in parts of the country goes back years and it has made a difference.
While Czech Radio reporter Pavel Novák recently described the river bed of the local Gračanka River which goes into Badavac Lake as littered with everything from plastic bottles to other rubbish, the water itself is crystal clear.
Just a few years ago, the same water stank and was described as brown and even black.
Xhevdet Duka, owner and manager at Projekt Plus which completed construction of the plant, says the quality of the water now is a difference between night and day.
“Before, every part of the canalization went straight into the river. Now, part of the waste water goes to the waste water treatment plant and after treatment goes to the river.”
At the plant itself, he explained more about the process.
“The water from kitchens and toilets is treated here through a biological process. By active bacteria, then there is a compressor which introduces oxygen into the water, the pumps that bring the water from the pumping station to here, to the reactor, to the slush tank to the accumulator. And after it is completely treated, decanter pumps route it back into the river.”
A local shopkeeper from the village of Mramor on the banks of the river recalled how the water stank in the past and how all filth was thrown into the river; items thrown out in front of homes all ended up there.
Xhemajl, a local farmer, still remembers when the river was clean in the old days, clean to be able to drink from it, but as new homes went up on its banks, more and more sewage pipes connected peoples’ homes and things quickly took a turn for the worse. Now that proper water treatment is in place, even fish are able to survive in the river again.
The treatment plant cost 17 million crowns and is the third such treatment facility that the Czech Development Agency has been involved in in Kosovo.