Hydrology is a branch of science concerned with the properties and distribution of water in nature. It determines the patterns and regularity of the development of phenomena and processes in nature. Hydrology is involved in the field of conservation and protection of nature by hydrological heritage - a modern discipline of hydrology and geoheritage.

Hydrological heritage is primarily focused on the hydrological diversity of a certain area by means of exploring, evaluating and selecting the area’s exceptional segments, that is, representative water phenomena - sites of hydrological heritage.

The hydrological heritage site is a water phenomenon on Earth, or its specific part with ecological, resources-related, scientific, educational, socio-cultural and aesthetic values which make this phenomenon distinguished and unique in the abundance of other phenomena.

Hydrological heritage emphasizes the value of its sites as individual natural occurrences and phenomena (scientific, educational and aesthetic value), constituent and elemental parts of the natural system (ecological value) and phenomena that are a condition for the existence and development of people and society (resources-related and socio-cultural value), the conservation and protection of which is set as one of ultimate goals of hydrological heritage.

The classification of hydrological heritage of Serbia is based on the fundamental division of hydrological heritage, harmonized with the water specificities of this area, and it unites the richness, diversity and uniqueness of the water phenomena of Serbia.
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The List of hydrological heritage sites of Serbia contains 272 sites that are divided into 5 groups and a number of subgroups.
The activities of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia have so far enabled the protection of about 120 hydrological heritage sites in Serbia.
The first Monument of nature protected in Serbia in 1949 was the waterfall Ripaljka (Velika and Mala Ripaljka) on the Gradašnica river, at the foot of Ozren Mt. near Sokobanja. Today, it is designated as hydrological heritage site.
It should be emphasized that only half of the hydrological heritage sites of Serbia is protected due to natural values of these sites, mainly as monuments of nature: Ripaljka, Homoljska potajnica, Krupajsko vrelo, Vrelo Mlave, Promuklica, Dolina potoka Bigar, Slapovi Sopotnice, Suteska Sikolske reke with the waterfall on Mokranjska stena, Vrelo Grze, Jovačka jezera, etc.), or as an important site within a larger natural area (national park, nature park, special nature reserve, etc.), while the others were "found" within the larger protected areas without being properly evaluated.

In addition, a certain number of hydrological heritage sites is in the process of getting a protected status, as an independent site: Taorska vrela, Mali Rzav Valley, Blederija, Hydrological complex "Kalipolje-Bukovik", or as part of a larger protected area like Kučaj-Beljanica, Mojstirsko- draške Mt., Maljen Mt. and others.

In the following period, one of the main tasks of the Institute within the scope of activities on geodiversity protection, which is a key and inseparable segment of nature, will be further activities on selecting and protecting the hydrological heritage sites of Serbia.

Map of hydrological heritage

Karta - objekti hidroloskog nasleđa

Hydrological heritage sites

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