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World Oceans Day: How sustainably managing freshwater can protect marine ecosystems

8 DE JUNIO 2024

Silvio Konstantin Kaiser
Lead Sustainability Consultant | Linkedin

The health of our oceans begins with how we manage water on land.

World Ocean Day offers us an opportunity to contemplate our bond with water, not just in the vast oceans, but all aquatic systems that sustain life. At the water division of IDOM, our focus on inland water management significantly impacts the health of our oceans. Sustainable water management practices are crucial for protecting both our immediate environments and the broader marine ecosystems. 

Inland water systems such as rivers and lakes are vital to the well-being of our oceans. They serve as pathways, transporting nutrients and pollutants from land sources to marine environments, directly influencing marine biodiversity and ecosystem health. Thus, through our work in water management, wastewater treatment, distribution, and conveyance, we contribute to the overall health of the oceans. 

At IDOM, our approach to water management is anchored in sustainability and resilience. Our projects prioritize reducing pollution, improving water quality, and enhancing the resilience of water systems against climate change. A prime example of our commitment is the project on Lake Ohrid, located between North Macedonia and Albania. Lake Ohrid, one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its unique biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Today, lake Ohrid faces several water challenges, including pollution from urban development, tourism, and agriculture, which threaten its sensitive ecosystem. The lake is part of the larger DRIN River Basin, a transboundary water system that connects to the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, this channel may allow pollutants from Lake Ohrid to pass through the DRIN basin and end up in the sea, making it increasingly important to manage inland waters to protect the marine environment. 

Our work in the Lake Ohrid project involves conducting studies and activities to establish various wastewater treatment systems around Lake Ohrid. These efforts significantly contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Clean Water) and its targets 6.2 (Provide access to sanitation and hygiene), 6.3 (Improve water quality, wastewater treatment, and safe reuse), and 6.6 (Protect and restore water-related ecosystems). The customized technologies we employ ensure that our wastewater treatment systems are efficient and effective, mitigating the impact on both local and marine ecosystems. 

As we celebrate World Ocean Day, it is imperative to recognize that the health of our oceans begins with how we manage water on land. There are 263 transboundary river basins worldwide, covering 47% of the Earth’s land surface and supporting about 40% of the global population. Effective management of these watersheds requires cooperation among multiple countries, fostering peace and preventing conflicts over water resources​. IDOM continues to uphold its environmental commitment, ensuring that our inland water management efforts positively impact the health of the oceans. We believe that this holistic approach underscores the interconnectedness of all water systems and our role in safeguarding them for future generations.