WaterLex took part in the national conference “Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Services for Bulgarian Rural Areas” that was held in Hristiyanovo (Stara Zagora Municipality), Bulgaria. Earth Forever Foundation organized the event as part of the project Mobilizing Civil Society in Rural Communities for Sustainable Water and Sanitation. It was a conference designed to work toward the action plan for achieving compliance with Directive 91/271/EEC and the Bulgarian Water Act in project villages surrounding Stara Zagora.

Earth Forever Foundation invited Legal officer Lenka Kručková to explain the international framework of the right to water and sanitation and more particularly talk about the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in supporting the realization of water governance-related human rights. Ms Kručková highlighted the importance of collaborating with various stakeholders, including the national ombudsman of Bulgaria, given the mandate of the institution.

Assessing nitrate pollution of water

Photo Credit: Angel Gyaurov: Assessing nitrate pollution of water

Issues of accountability, availability, quality and access to information were particularly highlighted throughout the interventions and discussions that took place during the one-day conference. A field trip further showed evidence of nitrate pollution of drinking water in various settlements in the region.

Participants in the conference included mayors from the surrounding villages, water and sanitation experts, civil society members, as well representatives from the water and sewerage providers. Other speakers at the conference included Mrs. Diana Iskreva, Executive Director of Earth Forever, Mr. Pierre Studer, Chair of the Protocol on Water and Health, Mr. Milen Malchev, Mayor of Radnevo Municipality, Mr. Joseph Idigo, Earth Forever and Ms. Naneva, Director at the Reginal Health Inspectorate of Stara Zagora. In the photo above, Ms Kručková is sitting with Yanka Ivanova, the helpful translator of the conference.

For the full agenda, please click here.