Application of SWOT analysis for the management of transboundary River Evros (Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey)
River Evros is a transboundary river flowing through Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey and coincides with the borderline among them for a considerable part of its length in the downstream part of its basin. River Evros is historically engaged to a long series of serious and devastating flood events with high socio–economical costs and environmental impacts on the riparian communities and even on the national economies of the three neighbouring countries which share the area of its hydrological basin. Besides, there have been a number of serious groundwater pollution incidents which have been identified at certain parts of the basin. Thus, the environmental problems encountered in the river's basin, represent both quantitative and qualitative ones. This paper investigates the main reasons for the faced transboundary environmental, socio–economic and developmental problems engaged to the functioning of the River Evros natural system and its management, based on a SWOT analysis (acronym which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). The ultimate goal of the investigation is to make sound conclusions, acting as a tool which may well facilitate a, badly needed, rational and integrated management of the entire transboundary surface and groundwater resources of the River Evros system (main river and its tributaries).
Keywords: transboundary river management, floods, groundwater pollution, natural hazards, SWOT analysis, Evros river, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, water pollution, water quality, groundwater quality, socio–economic costs, environmental impact, water management