Hvar Water Supply Project Creates Eyesore In Bucolic Bay

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Mala Stivina, tucked away on Hvar, where a local claims infrastructure work tore a hole into a nearby hillside.
Mala Stivina, tucked away on Hvar, where a local claims infrastructure work tore a hole into a nearby hillside.

June 11, 2020 — An infrastructure project on Hvar ripped an unsightly gash into a hillside overlooking one of the island’s bucolic bays. Locals are angry, while officials shrug and promise to make fixes.

Devastation or progress?

Hvar locals are weighing the two after a water supply project created an eyesore in one of the iconic island’s more-secluded bays, Mala Stiniva.

The bay falls within the Municipality of Jelsa, which is trying to bring water to the few parched homes which line the bay. In order for the excavators to be able to lay the pipe, several meters wide tracks of land were cleared in the bay.

This work could be done without any problems on the upper areas above the bay, and without disturbing nature,” said Mladen Matković, whose family owns plots in the eastern part of the island near ​​Mala Stiniva. “Not to mention that during the passage of the machine, a plot of 400 square meters, which has now been turned into an embankment, was covered with construction material and stones. What are the islanders doing to their island and their tourism, their most beautiful bays?”

Matković sent his complaints to the Tourism Ministry. Apparently, word got out.

The work stopped. The director of Hvar Waterworks Ivo Grgičević, requested an urgent meeting with the contractors, Šibenik-based company MIAB and their subcontractors. 

Grgičević said in an interview with Jutarnji List the contractors were warned to be more careful in the continuation of their work.

“It seems that there was a minor lapse, but the contractors are obliged to repair any damage,” he said. “In any case, this is not a devastation of nature. There is no forest in that area.”

The works would bring a stable water supply to people living around the bay. Every year, the state spends two and a half million kuna on subsidies to bring water to these areas in cistern tanks. 

“Of course, there will be minor damage,” Grgičević said “The excavator must pass. But if they want, we will stop the work and there is no water.”

The HRK 16 million project is being funded by the Municipality of Jelsa, Hvar Waterworks and Croatia’s Forest Service and should be c0mpleted by 2022.

Hvar’s water supply comes from an underwater pipeline running from neighboring Brač. The whole island is undergoing a major infrastructure investment, with an EU-funded HRK 270 million public sewage system being added to Jelsa and Vrboska.

The municipality of Jelsa makes up 55 percent of the island of Hvar. There are four large settlements and 35 inhabited bays on the water supply route.

Matković claims the contractors haven’t been following the code, and even stored construction materials on his land. Jelsa’s Mayor Nikša Peronja said the work is being done according to strict regulations, and that the contractor must correct any mistakes.

“When they break through the route, they do it in a width of about five meters, and in the protected bay Lučica, which is really beautiful and the pearl of Hvar, they have to reduce it to a maximum of three and a half meters,” he told the paper. “If stones are excavated, because it is a karst area, it is necessary to load all waste material into the truck and take it away, and all excavations must be buried immediately.”


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