The SAVA (Slovene pronunciation: , Serbo-Croatian: , Serbian
Cyrillic : Сава) is a river in Central and Southeastern Europe , a
right tributary of the
Danube . It flows through
along the northern border of
Bosnia and Herzegovina , and through
Serbia , discharging into the
Belgrade . Its central part is
a natural border of
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. The
Sava forms the
northern border of the Balkan Peninsula , and the southern edge of the
Pannonian Plain .
Sava is 990 kilometres (615 miles) long, including the
45-kilometre (28 mi)
Sava Dolinka headwater rising in
Slovenia. It is the greatest tributary of the
Danube by volume of
water, and second-largest after
Tisza in terms of catchment area
(97,713 square kilometres (37,727 square miles)) and length. It drains
a significant portion of the
Dinaric Alps region, through the major
Drina , Bosna ,
Kupa , Una , Vrbas ,
Bosut and Krka . The
Sava is one of the longest rivers in Europe and
among a handful of European rivers of that length that do not drain
directly into a sea.
The population in the
River basin is estimated at 8,176,000, and
it connects three national capitals—
Zagreb and Belgrade.
Sava is navigable for larger vessels from the confluence of the
Sisak , Croatia, approximately two-thirds of its length.
The name is supposed to be derived from the Proto-Indo-European root
*sewh1 (to take liquid, whence the English word "sup") and the ending
*eh2, so that it means literary "that which waters ".
* 1 Sources
* 2 Course
* 2.1 From source to the
* 2.2 From the
Sutla to the Una
* 2.3 From the Una to the
* 2.4 From the
Drina to the
* 2.5 Settlements
* 3 Watershed
* 3.1 Major tributaries
* 4 Hydrology
* 5 Geology
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Electric power generation
Water supply and food production
* 6.3 Navigation and ports
* 6.4 Road, rail and pipeline transport
* 7 Environment
* 7.1 Pollution
* 7.2 Protected areas
* 8 Sport and recreation
* 9 Tradition
* 10 See also
* 11 Footnotes
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Zelenci —spring of
Sava Dolinka See also:
Sava Bohinjka and
River is formed from the
Sava Dolinka and the
headwaters in northwest
Slovenia . The river's headwater area also
encompasses several tributaries , including the 52-kilometre (32 mi)
Sora , the 27-kilometre (17 mi)
Tržič Bistrica and the 17-kilometre
(11 mi) Radovna rivers—flowing into the
Sava at confluences located
as far east downstream as
Sava Dolinka rises at the
Zelenci Pools near
Kranjska Gora ,
Slovenia, in a valley separating the
Julian Alps from the Karavanke
mountain range . The spring is located near the Slovene-Italian
border at 833 metres (2,733 feet) above sea level , in a drainage
divide between the Adriatic and
Danube basins . The
spring is fed by groundwater possibly exhibiting bifurcation of source
karst aquifer to the
Soča basins. Nadiža creek, a short
losing stream flowing nearby, is the source of
Zelenci Pools water.
Sava Dolinka is considered the Sava's initial, 45-kilometre (28
Sava Bohinjka originates in
Ribčev Laz , at the confluence of
the Jezernica , a short watercourse flowing out from
Lake Bohinj and
the Mostnica River. Some sources define the Jezernica as a part of
Sava Bohinjka, specifying the latter as flowing directly out of
the lake, while another group of sources include Savica , rising at
the southern flank of
Triglav as the 78-metre (256 ft)
Savica Falls ,
Triglav Lakes Valley , and flowing into the lake, as a
part of the
Sava Bohinjka. The watercourse flows 41 kilometres (25
miles)—including the length of the Savica—east to
where it discharges into the
Sava Dolinka. Downstream from the
confluence, the river is referred to as the Sava.
Sava is located in
Southeast Europe , flowing through Slovenia,
Serbia and along the
Bosnia-Herzegovina border. Its total
length is 990 kilometres (615 miles), including the 45-kilometre (28
Sava Dolinka and the 945-kilometre (587 mi)
Sava proper. As a
right tributary of the
Danube , the river belongs to the Black Sea
drainage basin. The
River is the third longest tributary of the
Danube , slightly shorter than the 966-kilometre (600 mi)
the 950-kilometre (590 mi)
Prut —the Danube's two longest
Sava Dolinka headwater is excluded from its
course. It is also the largest tributary of the
Danube by discharge
. The river course is sometimes used to describe the northern
boundary of the
Balkans , and the southern border of the Central
Europe . Before the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, the river was
located completely inside Yugoslav borders and it was the longest
river with its entire course within the country.
FROM SOURCE TO THE SUTLA
Sava Dolinka rises in the
Zelenci Pools, west of
Podkoren in the
Upper Carniola region of
Slovenia at 833 metres (2,733 feet) above sea
level (a.s.l.), and flows east, past
Kranjska Gora to Jesenice ,
where it turns southeast. At Žirovnica , the river enters the
Ljubljana Basin and encounters the first hydroelectric dam —Moste
plant—before proceeding to the east of the glacial
Lake Bled towards
Radovljica and confluence of the
Sava Bohinjka, at 411 metres (1,348
feet) a.s.l. Downstream of Radovljica, the
Sava proceeds southeast
Kranj . Between
Kranj and Medvode, its course comprises the
Lake Trboje and the Lake Zbilje reservoirs , built for the Mavčiče
Medvode power plants. Save gorge between
Sava then flows through the capital of Slovenia,
where another reservoir is located on the river, adjacent to the Tacen
Whitewater Course . There the river course turns east and leaves the
Ljubljana Basin via
Dolsko , at 261 metres (856 feet) a.s.l. (at
confluence of the
Ljubljanica and the
Kamnik Bistrica ). The course
continues through the
Sava Hills , where it passes the
with the mining and industrial town of
Litija , the Central Sava
Valley with the mining towns of
Zagorje ob Savi ,
Trbovlje , and
Hrastnik , turns to the southeast and runs through the Lower Sava
Valley with the towns of
Sevnica , and
Krško . The course
Sava Hills forms the boundary of traditional regions of
Carniola and Styria , At Radeče, the Vrhovo hydroelectric dam
reservoir is located. The latter is site of the
Krško Nuclear Power
Plant , which uses the
River water to dissipate excess heat. The
easternmost stretch of the
River course in
Slovenia runs to the
Brežice , where it is joined by the Krka, and the river
ultimately becomes a border river between
marking 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) of their border near confluence of
Sutla (Slovene : Sotla). At that point, the
Sava reaches 132
metres (433 feet) a.s.l. after flowing 221 kilometres (137 miles)
Slovenia and along its border.
FROM THE SUTLA TO THE UNA
Zagreb , with
Medvednica mountain in the background
Zagreb after record rainfall and melting snow on 13 February
2014 expands to three times its size and rises to the height of 347 cm
reaching the levees. At the time picture was taken the water level
started subsiding and was at 287 cm. The trees in the water indicate
the usual width of the river, around 100 m. Picture taken from Youth
The westernmost part of the 562-kilometre (349 mi)
in Croatia, takes the river east, through the western part of the
Zagreb County , between
Zaprešić . The area encompasses
forests interspersed by marshes and lakes formed in gravel pits . As
Sava approaches the capital of Croatia,
Zagreb , the marshes give
way to urban landscape, but there are surviving examples of the gravel
pit lakes, such as the
Jarun , and the
Bundek within the city. At
the western outskirts of Zagreb, there is the western terminus of the
32-kilometre (20 mi) Sava–Odra flood-relief canal connecting the
Sava to the Odra
River plain which is intended to act as flood control
retention basin . The canal has been built in response to the most
destructive flooding of the river that occurred in
Zagreb in 1964,
when one third of the city was flooded and 17 people were killed. The
city itself marks the western extent of the
River basin area
especially prone to flooding, spanning from
Zagreb to confluence of
the river in
East of Zagreb, the river turns southeast again further through the
Croatia , to the
Sisak-Moslavina County , the city of
reaching 91.3 metres (300 feet) a.s.l. The city of
Sisak marks the
westernmost extent of the
River navigable to larger vessels.
Navigation conditions on the river are poor due to limited draft and
fairway width, meandering of the river, bridge clearance restrictions,
poor fairway markings as well as presence of sunken vessels and other
objects, including unexploded ordnance . The ordnance is left over
from various conflicts including the
World War II
World War II , Croatian War of
Bosnian War , and the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia
. Before reaching confluence of Una at Jasenovac and 86.8 metres (285
feet) a.s.l, the
Lonjsko polje Nature Park ,
encompassing marshes frequently flooded by the
Sava and its
tributaries in the area.
FROM THE UNA TO THE DRINA
Sava seen from
Slavonski Brod , the bridge in the background
links the city to Brod via a river island .
Downstream of confluence of the Una River, the
Sava is once again
tracing an international border—between
Bosnia-Herzegovina . Its meandering course runs generally eastwards
along Gradiška , and
Slavonski Brod to
Županja , where it turns
Brčko . There, the river resumes its predominantly eastward
Sremska Rača and confluence of the
Drina River. The
right bank of the Sava, in this segment of its course, belongs to
Bosnia-Herzegovina (with Bosnia's all three administrative entities,
Republika Srpska , Federation of
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko
District , having gateway to the river), while the opposite bank
Croatia and its Sisak-Moslavina, Brod-
Vukovar-Srijem counties, except in the area of
Jamena and further
downstream—which belongs to
Serbia and the province of
No cities in this segment of the course span the river as it
represents an international frontier, but there are adjacent
settlements located in two different countries, divided by the Sava.
Those include Gradiška, Brod and
Stara Gradiška ,
Slavonski Brod and Gunja in
Croatia opposite them.
The 337.2-kilometre (209.5 mi) segment between the Una and the Drina
confluences, marking corresponding to the entire length of the Sava
flowing along the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina, exhibits small change
of elevation—from 86.8 metres (285 feet) a.s.l at Jasenovac to 76.6
metres (251 feet) a.s.l. at
Brčko gauges , over 287.5 kilometres
(178.6 miles) of the river between them. The entire course of the
river downstream from
Zagreb flows down 0.4‰ slope on average,
significantly less steep than the course in Slovenia, where the
average slope exceeds 0.7‰—resulting in the Sava's meandering
course running through a wide plain bordered by wetlands .
FROM THE DRINA TO THE DANUBE
Sava and the
Sava and the historical
Downstream from confluence of the Drina, the
River changes its
eastward course to northeast, until it reaches
Sremska Mitrovica ,
from where it flows to the southeast and then south to
Šabac , before
finally turning east towards Belgrade. Most of the river's course in
Serbia represents a border between province of Vojvodina, on the left
bank, and Central
Serbia , on the right bank. Exceptions to that are
in area around Sremska Mitrovica, where both banks are in Vojvodina,
and downstream of
Progar suburb of
Belgrade where both banks are in
Central Serbia. The river meanders and forms wetlands in there as
well—the most significant wetland among them centering on Obedska
bara oxbow lake . The
River forms several large islands in this
segment of the course, with the largest among them—800-hectare
Ada Ciganlija in Belgrade—connected to the right bank
by a pair of artificial embankment dams forming
Lake Sava since 1967.
Sava discharges into the Danube, after reaching 68.3 metres (224
feet) a.s.l. as its right tributary at the
Great War Island off the
easternmost tip of
Syrmia in Belgrade, 1,169.9 kilometres (726.9
miles) away from the Danube's confluence and the Black Sea.
Population in the
River basin is estimated at 8,176,000, and it
includes four capitals—Belgrade, Ljubljana,
Sarajevo and Zagreb. All
of them, except Sarajevo, are also located directly on the river banks
and represent the three largest settlements found along the
course. Belgrade, located at the confluence of the river, is the
largest city in the basin with urban population of 1,135,502. Ten
municipalities where the city is situated have combined population of
1,283,783 as suburban settlements are added, while the Belgrade
metropolitan area encompasses population of 1,639,121.
Zagreb is the
second largest city on the river, comprising population of 688,163
living in the city itself, and 790,017 in the city-administered area.
Together with the
Zagreb County, largely corresponding to various
definitions of the city's metropolitan area, it has a combined
population of 1,110,517.
Ljubljana is the third-largest city on the
banks of the Sava, encompassing population of 258,873 living in the
city itself and 265,881 in the city-governed area.
The largest city in
Bosnia-Herzegovina situated on the
course is Brčko, whose urban population is estimated at 40,000.
Other cities along the river, with populations of 20,000 and larger,
Slavonski Brod (53,473),
Šabac (52,822), Sremska Mitrovica
Obrenovac (24,568), and
Gradiška (est. 20,000).
THE MOST POPULOUS URBAN AREAS ALONG THE SAVA RIVER
Sources: Statistical Office of the Republic of
Serbia 2011 Census;
Croatian Bureau of Statistics , 2011 Census; Statistical Office of
the Republic of
Slovenia , 2002 Census; Council of Ministers of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brčko Bridge between
Brčko and Gunja in 1996. Wartime damage
was repaired in 2000.
River basin covers a total area of 97,713.2 square
kilometres (37,727.3 square miles) making it the second largest Danube
tributary catchment by area size, surpassed only by the
and it encompasses 12% of the
Danube basin, draining into the Black
Sava represents the third longest tributary of the
its largest tributary by discharge. The catchment area borders the
remainder of the
Danube basin to the north and east, and the Adriatic
Sea basin to the west and south. The river basin generally consists of
parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia,
Slovenia, with a very small part of the catchment area belonging to
Albania . Topography of the basin varies significantly. Upstream
portion of the basin is more rugged than downstream one, but asymmetry
of the basin topography is particularly apparent when comparing right
and left bank areas—the former dominated by the
Alps and the
Dinarides reaching elevations in excess of 2,000 metres (6,600 feet)
a.s.l, while the latter is dominated by the
Pannonian Plain . The mean
elevation of the basin is 545 metres (1,788 feet) a.s.l.
SAVA BASIN AREA
Share of national
territory in the basin SHARE OF THE SAVA BASIN
11,734.8 km2 (4,530.8 sq mi)
25,373.5 km2 (9,796.8 sq mi)
38,349.1 km2 (14,806.7 sq mi)
15,147.0 km2 (5,848.3 sq mi)
6,929.8 km2 (2,675.6 sq mi)
179.0 km2 (69.1 sq mi)
River Basin Commission ;
The confluence of the
The most important tributaries of the
River found in its upper
basin are characterized by relatively steep grades of flow, high flow
velocities and rapids . Those are left tributaries: the
Kokra , the
Kamnik Bistrica and the
Savinja ; and right tributaries: the Sora, the
Ljubljanica and the
Krka (Sava) . Further downstream larger rivers
empty into the Sava, as the right bank of the basin grows steadily.
Right tributaries in this lower segment of the basin start as fast
flowing courses, only to slow down as they enter the
Pannonian Basin .
They include the
Kupa , the Una, the Vrbas , the Ukrina , the Bosna ,
Brka , the Tinja, the
Drina and the
Kolubara . Left tributaries in
the lower segment drain plains consequently exhibiting less steep
course grades, lower flow rates and meandering. They include the
Sutla, the Krapina , the
Lonja , the Ilova , the
Orljava and the Bosut
The 346-kilometre (215 mi)
Drina is the largest tributary of the
Sava, flowing in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and along border of the country
and Serbia. It is formed by the headwaters of the Tara and the Piva at
the border of
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, near
Šćepan Polje .
Its 20,319.9-square-kilometre (7,845.6 sq mi) catchment extends across
parts of four countries—reaching as far south as Albania. The Bosna
Kupa river basins are the second and third largest catchments
Sava tributaries, each surpassing 10,000 square kilometres
(3,900 square miles) in size.
LIST OF MAJOR TRIBUTARIES OF THE SAVA RIVER
1,860.0 km2 (718.2 sq mi)
41.0 km (25.5 mi)
46°04′32″N 14°38′31″E / 46.075553°N
14.641857°E / 46.075553; 14.641857 (Ljubljanica)
1,849.0 km2 (713.9 sq mi)
93.9 km (58.3 mi)
46°05′09″N 15°10′42″E / 46.085733°N
15.178471°E / 46.085733; 15.178471 (Savinja)
2,247.0 km2 (867.6 sq mi)
94.6 km (58.8 mi)
45°53′38″N 15°36′04″E / 45.893772°N
15.601187°E / 45.893772; 15.601187 (Krka)
584.3 km2 (225.6 sq mi)
88.6 km (55.1 mi)
45°51′50″N 15°41′05″E / 45.864015°N
15.684614°E / 45.864015; 15.684614 (Sutla)
1,237.0 km2 (477.6 sq mi)
66.9 km (41.6 mi)
45°49′38″N 15°49′24″E / 45.827244°N
15.823359°E / 45.827244; 15.823359 (Krapina)
10,225.6 km2 (3,948.1 sq mi)
297.4 km (184.8 mi)
45°27′39″N 16°23′54″E / 45.460793°N
16.398296°E / 45.460793; 16.398296 (Kupa)
4,259.0 km2 (1,644.4 sq mi)
49.1 km (30.5 mi)
45°21′50″N 16°45′14″E / 45.363846°N
16.753807°E / 45.363846; 16.753807 (Lonja)
1,796.0 km2 (693.4 sq mi)
104.6 km (65.0 mi)
45°20′55″N 16°46′21″E / 45.348707°N
16.772604°E / 45.348707; 16.772604 (Ilova)
9,828.9 km2 (3,795.0 sq mi)
214.6 km (133.3 mi)
45°16′15″N 16°55′07″E / 45.27096°N 16.918516°E
/ 45.27096; 16.918516 (Una)
Border river at the confluence
6,273.8 km2 (2,422.3 sq mi)
249.7 km (155.2 mi)
45°06′29″N 17°30′48″E / 45.107939°N 17.51328°E
/ 45.107939; 17.51328 (Vrbas)
1,618.0 km2 (624.7 sq mi)
87.6 km (54.4 mi)
45°06′24″N 17°43′29″E / 45.106773°N
17.724724°E / 45.106773; 17.724724 (Orljava)
1,504.0 km2 (580.7 sq mi)
80.7 km (50.1 mi)
45°05′19″N 17°56′13″E / 45.088702°N
17.936854°E / 45.088702; 17.936854 (Ukrina)
10,809.8 km2 (4,173.7 sq mi)
281.6 km (175.0 mi)
45°04′00″N 18°27′58″E / 45.066792°N
18.466043°E / 45.066792; 18.466043 (Bosna)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
904.0 km2 (349.0 sq mi)
99.4 km (61.8 mi)
44°55′40″N 18°45′23″E / 44.927893°N 18.75628°E
/ 44.927893; 18.75628 (Tinja)
20,319.9 km2 (7,845.6 sq mi)
346.0 km (215.0 mi)
44°53′31″N 19°21′19″E / 44.891968°N
19.355249°E / 44.891968; 19.355249 (Drina)
Border river at the confluence
2,943.1 km2 (1,136.3 sq mi)
186.0 km (115.6 mi)
44°56′29″N 19°22′10″E / 44.941443°N
19.369583°E / 44.941443; 19.369583 (Bosut)
3,638.4 km2 (1,404.8 sq mi)
86.6 km (53.8 mi)
44°39′44″N 20°14′55″E / 44.662152°N
20.248532°E / 44.662152; 20.248532 (Kolubara)
Notes: Country/region/county of location of confluence with Sava
corresponding to tributary bank side;
The list includes rivers with catchment areas greater than 900 square
kilometres (350 square miles), with addition of Sutla.
River Basin Commission ;
Lake Zbilje upstream from
The average annual flow rate of the
River at Radovljica,
immediately downstream of the
Sava Dolinka and the
confluence, stands at 44.9 cubic metres (1,590 cubic feet) per second.
Downstream of the Krka confluence the average flow rate reaches 317
cubic metres (11,200 cubic feet) per second, gradually increasing as
tributaries discharge along the course—340 cubic metres (12,000
cubic feet) per second downstream of the Sutla, 880 cubic metres
(31,000 cubic feet) per second following discharge of the
Kupa and the
Una, 990 cubic metres (35,000 cubic feet) per second downstream of the
Vrbas confluence, 1,180 cubic metres (42,000 cubic feet) per second
after the Bosna river empties into the Sava, and finally of 1,564
cubic metres (55,200 cubic feet) per second at confluence of the Sava
in Belgrade. The highest flow rate of 6,007 cubic metres (212,100
cubic feet) per second was recorded by
Slavonski Šamac gauging
station in May 2014.
Seven out of eight largest reservoirs in the
River basin are
located in the
Drina catchment, the largest among them being the
0.88-cubic-kilometre (0.21 cu mi) Lake Piva on the eponymous river in
Montenegro, created after construction of
Mratinje Dam . Overall,
there are 22 reservoirs holding more than 5,000,000 cubic metres
(180,000,000 cubic feet) of water in the basin, with only four of them
situated directly on the Sava, including one on the
Sava Dolinka. Most
of the reservoirs are used primarily, or even exclusively, for
electricity generation , but they are also used as supply of drinking
water , industrial water source, for irrigation and food production .
Groundwater is a very important resource in the
generally used for public water supply of potable water, as a source
of water for industrial use, but also as the mainstay of aquatic
ecosystems . There are 41 identified significant groundwater bodies in
River basin of basin-wide importance, ranging in area size
from 97 to 5,186 square kilometres (37 to 2,002 square miles), as well
as numerous minor ground water bodies. Even though most of them are
transboundary waters , eleven are considered to be largely located in
Slovenia, fourteen in Croatia, seven in Bosnia-Herzegovina, five in
Serbia and four in Montenegro.
The course of the
River runs through several diverse geological
units and orographic regions . The uppermost course of the river and
its headwaters in the
Karavanke area, is situated in the Southern Alps
, tracing the
Sava Fault —itself running parallel to the
Periadriatic Seam .
Upper Triassic rocks are exposed in
the region. The
Ljubljana Basin represents the boundary of the
Alps and the Dinarides. Valleys of the
Sava Dolinka and the
Sava Bohinjka are glacial valleys , carved out by the
Sava Dolinka and
Bohinj glaciers advancing down
Karavanke range to vicinity of
present-day Radovljica. In the late
Pleistocene , Bohinj
the largest glacier in the territory of present-day Slovenia, up to
900 metres (3,000 feet) thick.
Sava Folds, southeast and east of the
Ljubljana Basin are thought of as a part of the Dinarides, separating
Krško Basins , and forming the
Sava Hills. The
east–west oriented folds are younger than the
Miocene and the
folding is considered to had taken place in the
Pliocene and the
Quaternary , but it is possible that the tectonic activity continues
in the present day. The
Sava Folds largely exhibit
Triassic rocks, and clastic sediments .
The lower course of the
River is located in the Pannonian
Basin—first reached by the
River in the
Krško Basin on the
western rim of the Pannonian Basin. The
Pannonian Basin took shape
through Miocenian thinning and subsidence of crust structures formed
Variscan orogeny . The
Paleozoic and Mesozoic
structures are visible in
Papuk and other Slavonian mountains. The
processes also led to the formation of a stratovolcanic chain in the
basin 17–12 Mya (million years ago) and intensified subsidence
observed until 5 Mya as well as flood basalts about 7.5 Mya.
Contemporary uplift of the
Carpathian Mountains prevented water
flowing to the Black Sea, and the
Pannonian Sea formed in the basin.
Sediments were transported to the basin from uplifting Carpathian and
Dinaric mountains, with particularly deep fluvial sediments being
deposited in the
Pleistocene during the uplift of the Transdanubian
Mountains . Ultimately, up to 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) of the
sediment was deposited in the basin, and the Pannonian sea eventually
drained through the Iron Gate gorge. In the southern Pannonian Basin,
Quaternary sediment depth is normally lower, averaging
500 to 1,500 metres (1,600 to 4,900 feet), except in central parts of
depressions formed by subduction . A subduction zone formed in the
River valley, and approximately 4,000 metres (13,000
feet) deep sediments were deposited in the Slavonia-
and 5,500 metres (18,000 feet) in the
Sava depression. The results of
those processes are large plains in the
River valley and the Kupa
River valley. The plains are interspersed by the horst and graben
structures, believed to have broken the
Pannonian Sea surface as
islands , which became watershed between
Ivanščica –Kalnik –
Papuk Mountain is flanked by the
Krndija and the Dilj
Hills on the eastern rim of the
Požega Valley . The Bilogora, Papuk
Krndija Mountains consist mostly of
Paleozoic rocks which are
300–350 million years old, while the
Dilj consists of much more
Neogene rocks, 2–18 million years old. Further east of the
chain, the watershed runs through the
Vinkovci and Vukovar
Plateau. The loess plateau, extending eastward from
representing the watershed between the Vuka and Bosut rivers,
gradually rises to the
Fruška Gora south of Ilok.
ELECTRIC POWER GENERATION
There are 18 hydroelectric power plants with power generation
capacity exceeding 10 Megawatts in the
River basin. In Slovenia,
most of them are located on the
Sava itself. In other countries, the
hydroelectric power plants are situated on its tributaries. Total
power generation capacity of the 18 power plants, and additional
smaller plants largely found in Slovenia, amounts to 41,542 Megawatts,
and their annual production capacity stands at 2,497 Gigawatt-hours .
Approximately 3.3 cubic kilometres (0.79 cubic miles) of water per
year in the river's basin is used to cool thermoelectric and nuclear
power plants. Power plant cooling represents the main type of use of
As of October 2012 , there are six existing hydroelectric power
plants built along the
Sava River. Upstream of
Ljubljana there are
Medvode power plants, while Vrhovo,
Blanca are located downstream of the capital. There is one additional
plant under construction near Krško. The
Krško hydroelectric power
plant, as well as two additional plants planned on the
course downstream of Ljubljana—
Brežice and Mokrice—should be
completed by 2018. The power plants downstream of Ljubljana, except
Vrhovo, are developed as a chain of five Slovenia's Lower
plants since 2002. They will have production capacity of 2,000
Gigawatt-hours per year and 570 Megawatts of installed capacity .
Completion of the five power plants is expected to cost 700 million
Euros . There are also plans for construction of ten new powerplants
in the middle
Sava valley HE Suhadol, HE Trbovlje, HE Renke, HE
Ponovice, HE Kresnice, HE Jevnica, HE Zalog, HE Šentjakob, HE Ježica
and HE Tacen.
Croatia is planning construction of four hydroelectric
power plants on the
Zagreb area. The four
plants—Podsused , Prečko,
Zagreb and Drenje —are scheduled to be
completed by 2021 at a cost of 800 million Euros. The four power
plants will have installed capacity of 122 Megawatts and annual
production capacity of 610 Gigawatt-hours.
HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANT
ANNUAL PRODUCTION CAPACITY
Mavčiče , Slovenia
Medvode , Slovenia
Vrhovo , Slovenia
Boštanj , Slovenia
Blanca , Slovenia
Sources: Savske Elektrarne Ljubljana, Hidroelektrarne na spodnji
WATER SUPPLY AND FOOD PRODUCTION
Use of water for public water supply in the
River basin is
estimated at 783,000,000 cubic metres (2.77×1010 cubic feet) per
year, and another 289,000,000 cubic metres (1.02×1010 cubic feet) of
water per year is used for industrial production purposes. Use of
water for agriculture in the
River basin is relatively high, but
most of it is applied in non-consumptive uses, such as fish farming .
Use of water for irrigation is relatively low, estimated at 30,000,000
cubic metres (1.1×109 cubic feet) per year.
Commercial fishing on
River is in decline since the middle of the 20th century. In
1978, there were only 97 commercial fishermen there, while
recreational fishing became dominant. The decline became more rapid
during the wars in
Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, reducing quantity
of fish caught in the river to approximately one third of the pre-war
catches which ranged from 719 to 988 tonnes (708 to 972 long tons; 793
to 1,089 short tons) between 1979 and 1990. The International Sava
River Basin Commission (ISRBC), a cooperative body established by
2005, is tasked with establishment of sustainable management of
surface water and groundwater resources in the
NAVIGATION AND PORTS
Sava is navigable to larger vessels for 593.8 kilometres (369.0
miles) between its confluence with the
Danube in Belgrade,
Galdovo Bridge in Sisak,
Croatia , 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) upstream
from confluence of
Kupa rivers. The confluence marks the
westernmost point of the river course designated as a Class IV
international waterway in compliance with the United Nations Economic
Commission for Europe 's European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways
of International Importance (AGN). The classification means that the
river course between
Belgrade is navigable to ships of the
maximum length of 80 to 85 metres (262 to 279 feet), the maximum beam
of 9.5 metres (31 feet), the maximum draught of 2.5 metres (8 feet 2
inches) and tonnage up to 1,500 tonnes (1,500 long tons; 1,700 short
River downstream of Sisak, is designated as European
waterway E 80-12, branching off from the E 80 waterway spanning the
Le Havre via the
Rhine . The largest ports on the Sava
Brčko and Šamac in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Slavonski Brod in Croatia, and
Sremska Mitrovica in
As of 2008 , 24.5 kilometres (15.2 miles) of the river course between
Slavonski Šamac and
Oprisavci , as well as additional 219.8
kilometres (136.6 miles) between
Slavonski Brod and Sisak, are
considered by Croatia\'s Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and
Infrastructure to fail the Class IV criteria, permitting navigation of
vessels up to 1,000 tonnes (980 long tons; 1,100 short tons) only,
complying with the AGN's
Category III. The Slavonski
Oprisavci section is especially troublesome for navigation as
it offers 250 centimetres (98 inches) draught in less than 50% of an
average hydrological year, causing navigation to cease each summer.
Similar interruptions are less frequent elsewhere on the river,
occurring 30 days a year on average upstream from Oprisavci, and even
more rarely downstream from Slavonski Šamac.
The restricted draft and fairway is compounded with meandering of the
river's course—limiting length of vessels—and low bridge
clearance. Further problems are incurred through poor transport
infrastructure along the route, including poor navigation markings,
and presence of sunken vessels and unexploded munitions . Navigation
along further 68 kilometres (42 miles) of the river upstream to
Zagreb is possible for vessels with tonnage below 1,000
tonnes (980 long tons; 1,100 short tons), and the section of the river
belongs to the AGN's
Category II. There are plans for restoration of
Category IV compliant waterway downstream of
Sisak and betterment
of navigation infrastructure between
Sisak and Rugvica, as well as
upgrading of the waterway between
matching that of the Danube, with uninterrupted navigation through the
year. The plan is planned to be supported by the
European Union and as
of October 2012 , an agreement to implement the plan was signed by
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, while
Serbia is invited to join the
project. The plan aims to increase safety and volume of river
transport, which declined by about 70% since the breakup of
Yugoslavia, largely because of poor maintenance of the route. The
ISRBC is tasked with establishment of an international regime of
navigation on the river since 2005.
ROAD, RAIL AND PIPELINE TRANSPORT
River valley is also a route for road and rail traffic. The
river valley routes are a part of the
Pan-European Corridor X , and
forming junctions with
Pan-European Corridors V, Vb, Vc , Xa and Xb in
Zagreb (Vb, Xa),
Slavonski Šamac (Vc), and
Belgrade (Xb). The motorways forming the
Pan-European Corridor X in
the area—Slovenia\'s A2 , Croatia\'s A3 and Serbia\'s A1
motorways—represent a part of
European route E70
Bucharest , and the European route
Rijeka . A largely double track
railroad with a railway electrification system is also a part of the
Corridor X. The railroad was a part of the Simplon-Orient-Express and
Direct-Orient-Express routes. The navigable river course between
Belgrade and Galdovo north of
Sisak is spanned by 25 bridges. The
River valley east of
Sisak is also used as a route for the
Jadranski naftovod , a crude oil pipeline. The system connects the
Rijeka oil terminal to oil refineries in
Rijeka and Sisak, to
Brod in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as
Novi Sad and
The main pressure on the
River basin environment is generated by
activities of urban population in the basin. Even though nearly all
population centres generating pollution above 10,000 population
equivalent (PE) have some sort of sewage treatment in place, less than
a quarter of them are adequate. Wastewater from 86% of
basin settlements, generating more than 2,000 PE, goes untreated.
Pollution levels vary along the river. The best conditions in terms of
the wastewater treatment are found in Slovenia, although the existing
facilities are inadequate.
In Serbia, on the other hand, 68% of population centres have no
wastewater treatment facilities at all. Population centres exceeding
2,000 PE directly discharge into the
River basin's surface waters
11,112 tonnes of nitrogen and 2,642 tonnes of phosphorus .
Agriculture is another significant source of the
surface water pollution, specifically through livestock manure
production. It is estimated that the nutrient pollution levels
generated by manure production equal 32,394 tonnes of nitrogen and
3,784 tonnes of phosphorus per year. As a consequence, the
is microbiologically polluted in areas affected by the nutrient
pollution. One such part of the river is the lowermost part of its
Šabac and Belgrade, where acceptable freshwater
bacterial counts are exceeded.
Levels of industrial pollution vary significantly throughout the
basin. In 2007, significant sources of industrial pollution were
identified in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Levels of
lead, cadmium and arsenic measured in the
Zagreb in 2003
did not exceed permitted concentrations, but measured levels of
mercury exceeded permitted levels in four out of 216 samples. Levels
of heavy metals , specifically zinc, copper, lead and cadmium,
measured in sediments in the
Belgrade were assessed as
representing little to no risk, and the conclusion drawn was that in
order to "reduce the existing bacterial contamination of the Sava
River it is necessary to control faecal discharge near cities like
Belgrade." The two countries (
Croatia and Montenegro) with greatest
direct access to the Adriatic showed by far the least polluted basin
surface waters, although other factors, such as demography,
agricultural/environmental development and, especially, investment
(internal and external), play a role.
HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES LOAD FROM SIGNIFICANT INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION OF
THE SAVA RIVER BASIN SURFACE WATERS IN 2007
River Basin Commission ; N/A - data not
River basin is very significant because of its biological
diversity , and it contains large alluvial wetlands and lowland
forests. This led to designation of six protected areas under
provisions of the
Ramsar Convention by the countries in the basin.
Lake Cerknica in Slovenia,
Lonjsko Polje and Crna Mlaka in
Lake Bardača in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Obedska and Zasavica
bogs in Serbia.
SPORT AND RECREATION
Tacen Whitewater Course in Ljubljana,
There are several sports and recreational grounds located on the
river course or gravel pit and artificial lakes adjacent to the Sava.
Tacen Whitewater Course, located on the right bank of the
Tacen suburb of Ljubljana, was built as a permanent kayaking course in
1948. It hosts a major international competition almost every year,
examples being the
ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1955 , 1991
, and 2010 . In Zagreb,
Jarun complex of lakes along the river
course offers a range of facilities for swimming, water sports and
cycling. The island of
Ada Ciganlija in
Belgrade is the major
recreational zone of the city, gathering as much as 100,000 visitors
daily in summer months.
River is the site of several regattas . Those include the
Sava Tour rowing regatta taking place between
Brčko, and the
Regatta (sailing regatta).
The river is also the site of the
Šabac Swimming Marathon —an open
water swimming competition, running on an 18.8-kilometre (11.7 mi)
course between the village of
Jarak and the city of
Šabac in Serbia.
The competition is held annually since 1970, and was included in FINA
international calendar from 1984 to 2012.
Recreational and sport fishing is a popular activity along the Sava
River course. There is a 700 metres (2,300 feet) long sport fishing
competition ground near
Hotemež , Slovenia.
Even though the name
Sava became very common among
Slavs (and not
only among South
Slavs ), especially as a personal name (either male
or female) and has a "Slavic tone", the river's name has pre-Slavic
Celtic and Roman origins;
Strabo writes in Geographica 4.6.10
(composed between 20 BCE and 20 CE) of the
River Saüs, and the
Romans used the name Savus. Another name, used for the
entirety or its lower part by Strabo, is Noarus.
Worship of various river gods in the area dates to the Late Bronze
Age , when the first settlements were founded along the
Taurisci associated their river goddess
Adsullata with the Savus.
Altars or inscriptions dedicated to the river-god Savus have been
found at a number of locations along the river course, including at
Zelenci Pools where the
Sava Dolinka rises, and a number of Roman
settlements and castra built along the Via Pannonia, the Roman road
Aquileia to the Danube. The settlements include
Siscia (near modern-day Ljubljana,
Velika Gorica and
Sisak respectively) upstream of the
River confluence, and
Marsonia , itself built atop a prehistoric settlement,
Singidunum (in modern-day Slavonski Brod, Vinkovci,
Sremska Mitrovica and Belgrade) downstream of the Kupa. Besides the
altar found at the
Zelenci Pools, inscriptions and sites dedicated to
Savus have been found in remains of Emona,
Andautonia and Siscia.
Several years after 1751 completion of the
Robba Fountain in
Ljubljana, the three male figures sculpted as parts of the fountain
were identified as statues of the river gods of Sava, Krka and
Ljubljanica. In the early 20th century, the fountain was named the
Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers.
The Romantic poet
France Prešeren wrote The Baptism on the Savica
(Slovene: Krst pri Savici), the Slovene national epic , in 1835. The
poem, referring in its title to a headwater of the
Sava River, helped
to inspire the design of the coat of arms of
Slovenia of 1991:
However, the two wavy lines at the base of the blazon officially
represent rivers of
Slovenia and the
Adriatic Sea rather than the
Savica or the
River also appears symbolically in the coat of arms of the
Kingdom of Slavonia :
The design, approved by the
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary in
1496, incorporates two bars symbolising the
Sava and the
tracing the borders of the kingdom. The design inspired the arms of
several present-day counties of
Croatia in the region of
itself forms a part of the coat of arms of
Croatia . The poem
Horvatska domovina, written by
Antun Mihanović in 1835 as a national
symbol of Croatia, also refers to the
Sava River. Modified lyrics of
the poem later became the
Croatian anthem .
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