Assessment of the combined effects of HPP on the ecosystems and the ecological status of rivers – in Bulgaria

The main project objective wss to analyze the combined effects of hydropower on the river ecosystems and develop a National methodology for classification of river sections as eligibility for the construction of HPP.

The project was coordinated by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in Bulgaria. Other partners in the project are: Eastern Aegean River Basin Directorate – Plovdiv, Bulgaria (EARBD), Western Aegean River Basin Directorate – Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (WABRD) and NIVA.

The project will detail a set of criteria for HPP eligibility assessment, based on an adopted river WB typology and classification system of ecological status. The set of criteria are elaborated and tested in at least two pilot sub-basins in Bulgaria. Development of recommendations for mitigation measures (fish passes, environmental flow, site monitoring requirements etc.) are elaborated and proposed as list of prescriptions for HPP issuing permits as well as for integration into the RBMPs 2015-2021. Stakeholders are consulted on the proposed National methodology.

NIVA have in the project had the main role and responsibility for the transfer of knowledge and experience from Norway regarding the assessment of the combined effects of hydropower on the river ecosystems.

2015-10-20 Embretsfoss
2015-10-20 Embrettsfoss
2015-10-20 Embrettsfoss

NIVA and the Bulgarian delegation visiting Embretsfoss Hydropower Plant in October 2015. (Photos: Ingrid Nesheim and Line Barkved).

The specific tasks conducted by NIVA include

  • Development of Expert report on knowledge transfer based on analysis of existing publications, research and methodologies / criteria applied in Norway for the assessment of hydropower impacts and designation of river sections eligible/ non-eligible for the HPP development.
  • Organization of a study visit by Bulgarian experts to Norway to learn about the Norwegian experience regarding management of rivers for sustainable  hydropower production. The visit in October 2015 involved presentations by NVE, Eco-Energy and NIVA experts and also a visit to Embretsfoss hydropower plant for the experience of various environmental mitigation measures.
  • Presentation of the Norwegian experience in a workshop in Bulgaria.


The project (May 2015 - May 2016) was financed by EEA grants and the Programme BG02: More integrated management of marine and inland water resources

Last updated 30.06.2022