Annals of the University of Bucharest: Geography Series (Nov 2011)
A DRINKING WATER PUMPING STATION IN A DEGRADED RIPARIAN LANDSCAPE: HOW TO OVERCOME ANARCHY AND ACHIEVE BALANCED, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?
This article presents gravel plains as a natural, social and cultural feature, and in particular as an important part of the human environment in cities. The first part, which is more theoretical, presents the role and importance of gravel plains and shows the human impact as a factor in the way they change. This is followed by a detailed presentation of a specific case, the gravel plain along the Sava River in the northern part of Ljubljana. Due to continuing illegal human activities in this area, its fundamental function as a source of drinking water for the needs of Ljubljana is under threat. Decades ago people hauled away gravel from this protected water catchment area without any supervision or control, creating pits which were then filled with garbage, and in this way more than a hundred illegal dumping sites accumulated. None of the protective measures taken to date, neither legal regulations nor physical barriers and warnings on site, have had any effect, and the area has become a textbook example of a degraded riparian landscape. It could be a space having multiple coexisting functions of water catchment, nature conservation and outdoor recreation for the urban population, but this possibility has not found an appropriate place in the perceptions of the city residents. Thus the question arises as to whether any further cleanup will have any lasting effect in the absence of a radical improvement in people’s attitude towards the environment.