The Buna River and the Fight for the (Un)Protected Area of the Buna Canals
Author: Adi Operta
The most attractive part of the Neretva River is located south of Mostar - the confluence of the Buna and Neretva rivers, which is the Buna Canal, or in the drier period of the year when more tributaries are formed - the Buna Canals. Each time of year will bring us a different scenery depending on the amount of water at that time. it is most beautiful in summer when the 850 m long canals flow into the Neretva, whose width at that place is 3 to 5 meters. The Illyrian names for these rivers were Bona (Buna) and Narona (Neretva), which flowed through the land of the Illyrian tribe of the Daorsi.
The Buna flows through travertine canals that form around cold springs by excreting calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from the aqueous solution. This happens in places where there are obstacles in the form of aquatic plants or due to the reduction of the slope. After the Buna canals, the Neretva slows down and the flow widens, which is typical for lowland rivers.
In the past few years, there has been an intense legal fight to preserve the Buna canals from the potential construction of two mini-hydropower plants, for "creating renewable energy sources", as investors stated, ignoring all the negative effects of building such plants in the natural environment. Thanks to the environmental association "May Flower" (Ephemere Danica), which submitted all the necessary documentation and a petition with over 5,000 signatures, the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo revoked the environmental permit issued by the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The fight for the preservation of the Buna canals will not stop until a decision is made on a complete ban on the construction of mini-hydropower plants on the Buna and Neretva rivers. The Buna canals should be protected area, as they once were.
The Buna canals are located along the main road M-17 and are still not adequately valorized nor protected, while during the former SFR Yugoslavia the Buna canals were protected, as we mentioned. According to many who are involved in adventure and extreme sports, the Buna canals represent a site with huge potential for the development of adventure sports and the holding of international competitions.