Belarus

The focus of Every Drop Matters work in Belarus has been to protect, and increase awareness of, water resources. 

Background
In Belarus, springs not only provide important sources of clean drinking water but are also considered sacred sites for religious rituals. Though spiritually revered, springs are often poorly protected and maintained resulting in polluted, unusable water. This project rehabilitated four springs in the Vitebsk, Bobruisk and Osipovichy districts, providing access to clean water for 700 villagers and built capacity in local groups to maintain and protect the springs for future use. To guide action taken at the national and regional level to improve public access and protect the local environment, an inventory of priority springs for protection and restoration – based upon the environmental status, tourism development potential and level of engagement of local stakeholders – was produced for UNDP and policy makers.

Outputs

  • Produced an inventory of priority springs for protection and restoration in Belarus, which can guide strategic interventions for improving drinking water supply and tourism development.
  • Raised awareness and capacity in local populationsto protect and maintain of springs as clean and accessible drinking water sources and recreational areas
  • Rehabilitated four springs in Belarus, providing access to clean drinking water to 700 people
  • Established new volunteer groups to ensure the monitoring and maintenance of springs in the future  

 

Title Living water: clean springs in Belarus
Implementation period 2011-2012
Implementing agency: UNDP Belarus, Inter-church Mission Christian Social Service Location: Vitebsk, Bobruisk and Osipovichy districts
Budget 69,215 USD (EDM: 43,200 / Co-financing: 26,015)

Belarus spring access

Background
The springs of Belarus serve as a vital source of clean water for local people with great cultural, spiritual and historical importance to numerous communities throughout the country. Despite some communities efforts to protect springs and make them more accessible, local ecosystems and water quality are often inadequately protected. The EDM project assessed the ecosystem, water quality and infrastructure conditions of 17 springs within the Glybokaje region and identified those springs that are most in need of protection, both for their environmental value, and their value to communities within their vicinity. It then engaged and educated diverse stakeholders to improve knowledge of springs, and their value, for communities. Local actors, inspired by the results of this EDM project began work to establish local landmarks, new water protection zones and designated re-charge areas of the springs.  

Outputs

  • Built water access points for a community of 4,500 residents
  • Conducted an inventory of springs in the Glybokaje district and examined the environment, ecosystem, water quality and infrastructure at each site
  • Identified priority protection areas and springs best fit for use as drinking water sources
  • Established local landmarks to indirectly benefit the population of Glybokaje district (approximately 40,000) as well as visitors and tourists to the area
  • Raised awareness of 176 persons on spring development, protection and use, including government authorities, members of industry and local stakeholders
  • Created an awareness poster of natural landmarks within the district



Title
Protection and sustainable use of springs of Glybokaje District
Implementation period 2013-2014
Implementing agency Burenco-plus, Ecological Initiative
Location Glybokaje District, Vitebsk Region
Budget 31,500 USD (EDM 30,500 / Co-financing: 1,000)

Sustaining Glybokaje springs

Background
Belarus is rich in Peat bogs, which cover 12% of its national territory. Though they are one the most valuable natural ecosystems in the world, they are also one the most threatened. The Yelnya Reserve – one of the largest near-natural raised bogs in Europe – is truly a treasure. The annual economic value of its ecosystem services, such as water purification, storage and flood protection, is estimated to be 35 million USD per year. Preservation and maintenance of the bog ecosystem is critical, as it is vulnerable to human activities, disruptions to the hydrological regime and fires. This multi-generational EDM project, supported the sustainable management of the bogs water resources and climate change adaptation in the Yelnya Reserve. During the first phase it produced research to increased knowledge of the ecosystem, as well as build awareness and capacity for managing this uniquely valuable natural system. This included an exhibition at the National Museum of Nature and Ecology of Belarus on water resources and natural systems in Belarus, that attracts an estimated 15,000 visitors each year. In its second phase it worked to directly improve the health and hydrological functions of the ecosystem, and has conserved an initial estimate of 50,000,000m3 of water in the region.

Outputs

  • Performed an assessment of the annual value of Yelnya ecosystem services, resulting in an estimate of 35 million USD per year
  • Identified twelve protected habitats and areas of severe degradation to plant communities for priority action
  • Provided valuable tools for demonstrating the value of ecosystem rehabilitation activities, which can be replicated for assessment and project planning throughout Belarus
  • Constructed 48 earth dams and a spillway dam, increasing water retention capacity, wetted area, and resilience to fires in the ecosystem
  • Installed an exhibition at National Museum of Nature and Ecology of Belarus on water resources and natural systems in Belarus, that attracts an estimated 15,000 visitors each year
  • Created and distributed educational materials for use by ministries, academia, NGOs, local decision makers, schools and libraries


Title
Protection and sustainable use of springs of Glybokaje District
Implementation period 2013-2014
Implementing agency Burenco-plus, Ecological Initiative
Location Glybokaje District, Vitebsk Region
Budget 31,500 USD (EDM 30,500 / Co-financing: 1,000)

EDM Wetland display Belarus

Partners and Contributors

UNDP Belarus • Coca-Cola Belarus • Global Environment Facility • Inter Church Mission Social Service • Ministry of Environment, Belarus • Burenco-plus, Ecological Initiative • Glybokaje Executive Committee