This month, Lithuania has an occasion to celebrate. The Lithuanian Parliament has accepted the Ministry of the Environment’s proposal of the Water Law amendments that permit more ambitious river restoration efforts. The new Water Law specifically addresses the issue of obsolete dams that are blocking Lithuania’s beautiful rivers. These out-of-use dams are required to be removed to restore river connectivity. It is estimated that there may be about 1,500 that are not economically viable and serve no purpose. The new law also touches upon the functional dams, requiring owners to install fish passages with a state compensation.
By passing this new law, the Lithuanian government sends a clear message to the world that the restoration of river ecosystems is a priority for national freshwater management. These changes are also made possible thanks to active people working in the governmental and NGO sectors.
This news update was written by Jonė Leščinskaitė, advisor for sustainable development and strategic change groups at the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, and Grant Selection Panel member, Karolina Gurjazkaitė.