Some 800 cows and 200 horses almost died of thirst earlier this month on Mt. Suva Planina in southeastern Serbia after their sole source of drinking water dried up, forcing farmers and environmental activists to appeal on people, businesses, and authorities to help supply water to the suffering animals. The near tragedy took place amid increasingly common summer heat waves and drinking water shortages throughout Serbia.
Last week, the Green Patrol in Action, a group of environmental activists, managed to secure a donor to pay for the supply and transport of 30 tons of water to Mt. Suva Planina, but they weren’t able to find a firm with water tank trucks to deliver it to the animals. Not even public utilities in nearby cities and towns would provide them with tank trucks even though they were going to pay for the service.
A man from Leskovac brought 500 liters of water to farmers in his van
At the height of the crisis, a man from the city of Leskovac demonstrated solidarity in action. Vlada Vasiljković loaded his van with 500 liters of water and drove to Mt. Suva Planina to deliver it to farmers. “I appeal on [everyone] to help the residents and these poor animals,” Vasiljković said at the time.
Photo: Sally Dimitrijević
The crisis has been handled in the meantime, but only partially, as quantities of water supplied are not enough
In the meantime, the crisis has been handled, as the Ministry of Agriculture has secured daily supplies of water for the animals. However, the locals claim the quantities are not sufficient and insist on working out a lasting solution.
Drinking water shortages in summer months are increasingly common in Serbia
Jovan Miljković, a local resident, explained last week that the spring on Mt. Suva Planina had not provided enough water for the cattle for a full month due to severe drought.
This past summer, a number of towns throughout Serbia experienced drinking water shortages, which, according to officials, were due to consumption spikes, caused by a heat wave, as well as low river levels and equipment malfunction.
Water outages, which used to be sporadic and caused only by breakdowns, have become almost regular in summer months. Time will tell whether the real reasons lie in poor management of water sources and water supply networks, increased consumption, or, indeed, climate change, which causes extreme temperatures.