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Environmental Local Authorities InterBalkan Network - ELAIN
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The municipality of Bijeljina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The municipality of Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bijeljina
 The City of Bijeljina
http://www.sobijeljina.org/

The City of Bijeljina is located in the north east part of the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It covers the flat area of Semberija and lower hills of the Majevica Mountain. Towards west and south the neighbouring municipalities are Ugljevik, Lopare, Zvornik and Tuzla, as well as Brčko District. The territory of the city is surrounded by the rivers Sava and Drina on the north and east respectively. They are the border towards Croatia and Serbia. On the south west side the natural border are the hillsides of the Majevica Mountain.

The endpoints of the City of Bijeljina are 44° 34' and 44° 55' north latitude, 18° 56' and 19° 23' east longitude. The territory of the City covers 734 square kilometres of mostly flat and flat-and-hilly Semberija plains, with average elevation of approximately 90 metres. Semberija used to be a part of the Pannonian Sea, and the way it looks like today is a result of the eolic erosion and river alluviums, so in the fertile humus is dominant in the soil composition. This soil, together with suitable climate, makes this area the most fertile region in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The City territory has approximately 54,000 ha of the agricultural land, out of which the 50,000 ha are arable land and gardens. The most common agricultural products are cereals and vegetables. The developed hydro-irrigation network, the canal system, allows removing the extra water away from the agricultural and other areas, and at the same time it is used for irrigation during dry periods.

The climate is moderate continental with the mean annual temperature of approximately 12° Celsius, with 90 to 100 days annual precipitation. The average precipitation in vegetation period is approximately 350, and average annual precipitation is approximately 850 mm per square metre. Precipitation is highest in May and June, and lowest in July and September. Snow lingers around 40 days a year. Besides the rivers Drina and Sava, significant water resources are smaller rivers Janja, Gnjica and Lukavac.

Semberija lies above a huge underground lake of thermal water used for spa treatment in a famous spa Banja Dvorovi, six kilometres from the centre of Bijeljina. In addition to using geothermal water for spa treatment, there is a great potential for its use for heating of residential, industrial and agricultural closed areas. In the south western part of the metropolitan area of Bijeljina there are substantial reserves of high quality clay used in the production of bricks. It is particularly important that the area of the City of Bijeljina lies above enormous underground reserves of geothermal water at a depth of 1,200 m, with a minimum temperature of 75 degrees Celsius, making it the warmest in the Republic.

According to the area it covers, the City of Bijeljina is the eighth local community, among the 68 municipalities and cities in the Republic of Srpska, and according to the population it is the second. It is estimated that the City area has a population of 130,000 inhabitants, located in 67 settlements, which makes it one of the most densely populated areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the population has increased significantly, mainly due to the migration of people to this area. The special geographical location, economic and human resources have contributed to making Bijeljina a regional centre on which the municipalities of Majevica and Brčko regions rely on. Headquarters of several institutions of the Republic of Srpska as well as several organizational units of the state administration, and the seat of the district judiciary are located in Bijeljina. Bijeljina is a university centre that has about five thousand students at several universities.

Modern asphalt roads with a length of 144 km allow good connections to all parts of the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia. Bijeljina is located 12 km from the border to Serbia and 45 km from the border to the Republic of Croatia. Bijeljina is connected with Serbia with railway line Bijeljina - Šid, and in Šid it connects to the railway line Belgrade - Zagreb.

Due to its geostrategic position, Bijeljina represents the crossroads between the western part of the Republic of Srpska and Serbia, as well as the eastern part of the Republic of Srpska and southern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the north of Serbia and on to the Pannonian Plain and central Europe. Bijeljina is located at the crossroads of important routes between regional centres - approximately 130 km from Belgrade, approximately 120 km from Novi Sad, approximately 230 km from Banja Luka, 70 km from Tuzla, and approximately 200 km from Sarajevo. There are two road border crossings and two ferry border crossings with Serbia on the territory of the City of Bijeljina. One road and one ferry crossings are on the river Drina and the others are on the river Sava. Approximately fifty kilometres from Bijeljina, there is a connection to the Pan-European Corridor 10 and the E-70 highway Belgrade-Zagreb. This route is the shortest connection of Semberija with the two cities and, through them, to the Western/Central Europe and the south east of the Balkan Peninsula. The Sava River is navigable all the way along the northern border of the territory of the City, and nearest river ports are in Brčko and in Sremska Mitrovica (40 and 67 kilometres from Bijeljina).

Bijeljina is not only an administrative, but also economic, cultural, educational, health and sports centre of the entire Semberija and Majevica region and the driver of development of this whole region.

Environment protection:

1. Systematic approach to develop the current inadequate level of public awareness on environmental protection through cross-border cooperation projects (regional, entity).

2. Usage the wealth of the hydrological system of navigable rivers Sava and Drina and geothermal sources aiming to affect the level of maintenance of hydro - melioration system and water quality

3. Through planned investments in infrastructure to solve the waste water treatment by constructing sewerage systems and wastewater treatment unit

4. Utilization of the Action Plan on Energy Sustainability ( SEAP) to raise the level of SEAP are exercised through the use of an enabling environment and current trends in the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency

5. Use the largest area of cultivable land in Bosnia and Herzegovina ( 90 % ) for the development of conventional agriculture and controlled use of chemicals in agriculture through entity , regional and cross-border projects.