The WBIF’s main priorities in this sector are water and wastewater, solid waste, river basin management and flood protection in densely populated and industrialised areas and environmentally sensitive areas.
The WB6 environment suffers from a poor legacy, including coal and lignite reliance, illegal waste dumping, accumulated industrial and mining waste, limited wastewater treatment, and an energy inefficient building stock. Socio-economic changes in transition and pursuing the goal of European integration bring further pressure on the environment. The population is increasingly moving to cities and along the coasts; urban sprawl is growing while increased pressure on often deficient municipal infrastructure is creating large investment needs.
Furthermore, changing production and consumption patterns increase demand for mobility, cargo transportation and waste management services. Growing tourism industries are bringing in seasonal population peaks that need to be catered for. Finally, the Western Balkans, already prone to extreme climatic events such as the 2014 floods, must plan for climate change. Higher summer temperatures and lower rainfall are likely to impact water supply, hydro energy production, and energy use.