TV Show ‘Ecological Hour’ on Illegally Constructed Well and Potential Consequences on Artesian Fountains in Zaječar (VIDEO)

In the “Ecological Hour” show, where the president of the Association “Za Drinking Fountains”, Boban Pogarčić, and journalist-editor of “Za Media,” Dušan Vojvodić, spoke, there were several topics related to artesian fountains in Zaječar, their vulnerability due to the construction of an illegal well, and actions taken to prevent the destruction of Zaječar’s largest natural asset. Additionally, discussions focused on the recent decision from the Ministry of Mining and Energy, addressing the water from Zaječar’s artesian fountains as technical water.

Journalist Dušan Vojvodić explained that on December 15 of this year, an illegal artesian well was discovered in Kotlujevac, at 7 Petra Lekovića Street, in the household of Dušan Stojanović. Activists from the “Za Drinking Fountains” Association and representatives of the water utility company immediately informed the relevant inspection due to the potential threat to several nearby fountains in Kotlujevac. He then mentioned that the local inspection declared itself not competent and informed the complainants that the case would be taken over by the Republic Geological Inspection of the Ministry of Mining and Energy.

Representatives of the Association and media workers were not surprised by this, as a similar situation occurred seven years ago when a well in the parking lot of the “Serbia-Tis” Hotel dried up, endangering five fountains in Zaječar. In both instances, the contractor was Dušan Stojanović, who this time drilled the well in his own yard.

Interestingly, two days after discovering the illegal well, two fountains a few hundred meters away dried up, and water started flowing again a few days later when a building with water installations and a valve that someone had closed was discovered. As mentioned by Boban Pogarčić in the show, it is up to the relevant authorities to determine whether the fountains dried up due to the valve being closed or if someone closed the valve after the fountains dried up due to the impact of the illegally constructed well.

The guests in the show conveyed that the Mayor of the City of Zaječar, Boško Ničić, addressed the current situation, stating that he will insist that both local and republic authorities fulfill their responsibilities. Information was received that a geological inspector from the Ministry of Mining and Energy will come to check and appropriately sanction those who, if found guilty, violated the law, to deter others from destroying something that is a public good.

The show also discussed the decision from the Ministry of Mining and Energy regarding the determined and verified categorized reserves of underground waters for eight artesian fountains, classifying the water as technical water. Boban Pogarčić stated that this decision, received two months ago, is practically illegal because the Regulation on the categorization of underground waters does not recognize the category of technical water, effectively removing any form of protection for artesian waters in Zaječar. His “Za Drinking Fountains” Association, together with the City of Zaječar, has been working for five years to legalize and legitimize artesian fountains as the city’s greatest natural treasure. In the meantime, the City Attorney has filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court in Belgrade.

Regarding the current case of the illegal well constructed in Kotlujevac, the guests mentioned that the arrival of the geological inspection from the Ministry of Mining and Energy is expected in the coming days. This inspection will determine the legality of the artesian well’s construction and its technical characteristics, primarily depth and the number of aquifers from which the illegal well taps deep water.

This show was produced within the project “Environmental response to mining expansion in Timočka Krajina” funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Association “Za Drinking Fountains”, the Association of Young Researchers Bor, Civic Library “Europe” Bor and Children’s Center Zaječar. The content of the show is entirely responsibility of these associations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.