The Mesta/Nestos transboundary river catchment, shared between Bulgaria and Greece is part of the UNESCO/HELP network of basins, for the following reasons: (1) it combines internationally shared surface and ground waters, (2) there are serious issues of environmental concern in the upper basin and the delta region, and (3) competing water uses have been increasing from the time when Greece built a series of hydro-electrical plants and Bulgaria entered a market economy and embarked on a struggle for a rapid economic growth.
The main geographical and hydrological characteristics of the basin may be summarised as follows (Fig. 10.4):
Area of river basin: 6.280 km2 (46% located in Greece) Length of river: 230 km
Altitude range: 0-2.925 m (Rila and Pirin mountains in Bulgaria) Average annual rainfall: 700 mm Average flow rate: 20-30 m3/s
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