Danube's floodplains in Romania has suffered a lot over the last few decades because of the climate change but also because of the dams construction. This fact created disruptions in longitudinal and lateral connectivity, changes in the land use and a massive reduction of natural meadow surfaces. The decline of the area (up to 68% over the past 100 years) has already had a terrible impact on biodiversity and on local communities, frequently exposed to floods.
Potelu-Bistret-Rast communities, where the pilot area of Danube Floodplain Project is, are really concerned about these changes. "When the snow melts, there are serious problems in the Danube Floodplain. In 2006 we have experienced terrible times”, recalls the mayor of Bistret (Dolj county), Cristiana Antonie.
Also in Rast (Dolj county) there were big problems caused by the floods in 2006. „The Danube has overflown and the water flooded the area. 700-800 hectares were covered with water, about 4 meters deep”, says the mayor Iulian Silisteanu.
As for Potelu area, where there used to be a pond full of fish, now we only have a huge land full of sand. Alexandru Ionescu, a local from Grojdibodu village (Olt county), says this lake does not exist anymore. “We have instead a real desert here. Each year this desert expands to the East. We need to restore this lake, the former Potelu Lake.”
Meanwhile, the locals are full of hope. While waiting for the waters to fill once again the current desertified area, they are preparing their fishing nets.
Watch WWF Romania's video on the story of the Potelu-Bistret-Rast communities on WWF Romania's YouTube channel (with English subtitles).