Description: The Nestos Case Study comprises the 5,479 km2 Nestos river basin that crosses the Bulgarian-Greek border in South-Eastern Europe. The 243 km long Nestos river forms a significant ecosystem throughout its course from the Bulgarian Rila mountains to its outlet at the Greek Thracian Sea. The outlet is characterised by a delta that is protected by the Ramsar Convention and is considered a first-priority site under EU Nature 2000. Two dams are used for energy production and irrigation water supply affecting water availability along the Nestos river. Main activities in the river basin relate to agriculture and livestock.

Main nexus issues: The main issues in the basin are related to the interactions/conflicts among several water uses, i.e., energy production, irrigation, water supply, ecosystem health and food production.

  • Local income is rather low while the population of villages and small towns located within the basin are primarily occupied in agriculture and livestock – two water-demanding sectors, especially during the warm and dry summer months;
  • Groundwater over-pumping has emerges as a critical problem resulting in low groundwater levels and jeopardizing the health of wetland ecosystems within the delta area due to seawater intrusion;
  • In addition, the hydropower dams, along the Nestos river, may also affect the riverside ecosystems.

NEXOGENESIS activities in the case study:

  • Investigate strategic policy plans on water management of transboundary river flow upstream (e.g. river diversion, ) that may affect the water flow and quality, energy production capacity and ecosystem sustainability downstream to identify sustainable water management solutions;
  • Enhance collaboration among conflicting stakeholders at national and at transboundary level;
  • Implement small scale interventions and policy practices towards the protection of aquatic ecosystems;
  • Identify economic benefits from the nexus sectoral policies to the local communities and the two countries (water-diplomacy issues).