Zhulat, 09 February 2020. Following previous meetings with communities that would be affected by the construction of HPPs, EcoAlbania held the next meeting in Zhulat, a village close to Gjirokastra. The meeting was attended by residents of Zhulat village, representatives of EcoAlbania and local media, as well as activists. The discussion was focused on the issue of hydropower construction in Taronina and EcoAlbania’s previous experience in protecting the Vjosa River.
The Taronina HPP is planned to be built in the village of Taronina by the TARONINA HYDROPOWER construction company. In the hydropower project, it is specifically planned that the two water intake works will be in the two small rivers, Zhulati and Zhuli, both tributaries of the Kardhiqi River. Kardhiqi area has been declared a Strict Nature Reserve/Scientific Reserve with DCM no. 102, dated 15.01.1996.
Residents are concerned about the situation and unanimously against the construction of the HPP. They demanded accountability from local and central government bodies. “We are ready to protect our river at all costs,” they said. They asked for media support to publish their concern about the current situation.
The Cepo Administrative Unit has approximately 3,000 inhabitants which use the Zhulat and Zhul rivers and the construction of the HPP in Taronina would permanently drain the waters of these two rivers. Also, their uncontrolled exploitation would eradicate any living species in the rivers and leave the surrounding land bare.
Based on previous experience, in the battle for the protection of the Vjosa River, residents were encouraged to continue their resistance and initiate a legal battle for the protection of their rights and natural resources in the area. Both are strongly interconnected to succeed in the challenge of protecting the environment and rivers throughout Albania.
This meeting was held in the framework of the project “Give voice to the River Protection“, which aims to share the experience of the campaign for the protection of the Vjosa, to motivate and mobilize the communities in the protection of the rivers. This was the second meeting with the communities affected by hydropower development in the country and will be followed by eight other meetings in other affected areas.