Environmental associations and activists in Slovenia have won a great victory in the fight for the protection of water. In a referendum on drinking water, 86.6% or more then 674,000 citizens voted against changes to the water act adopted by the parliament.
NGOs and experts have collected more than 50,000 signatures to hold a referendum to stop the implementation of the changes to the water law, passed by the Slovenian parliament in March.
Citizens believe that the changes to the water law will endanger drinking water sources
Although the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning claimed that the changes prohibit the construction of industrial and private facilities on the banks of rivers and lakes, environmental activists insisted that the amendments to the law would do the opposite – allow the construction of such facilities, which would endanger sources of drinking water. The results of the referendum clearly backed the stance of environmental activists.
The referendum question was: Are you in favor of the changes to the water act which were adopted by the parliament on March 30, 2021?.
46.6% of registered voters turned out, and 86.6% of them said no to the amendments to the water act
In order for the changes to be abolished in the referendum, at least a fifth of the total number of voters had to vote, which is about 340,000, and that was achieved because the percentage was 46.6. And then it was necessary for a majority of voters to say no to the amendments, which also happened.
In November 2016, Slovenia became the second state in the European Union to include the right to water into its constitution, declaring water a public good and preventing its commercialization. The environmental impact of the construction of small hydropower plants in the Western Balkans put water at the top of the agenda among green activists.