The Biological Faculty at Sofia University will launch a large-scale survey on the biodiversity, ecological condition and quality of the water in the Iskar River. The project ‘Live water” is implemented with the support of Sofiyska Voda AD part of Veolia.
Examination will be carried out on the chemical contents of water, quantities and types of fish fauna and zoobenthos (organisms on the bottom of water spaces) and microorganisms in the river. The objective of this project is to provide real and up-to-date assessment on the ecological state of the water source in the Iskar River and its main feeders. The latest similar survey was conducted more than ten years ago which makes the anticipated data from the survey quite important.
The survey itself envisages a unique method by which the students will not only take part but also will be trained in the practical work in real research environment.
The survey will be conducted as a real educational process
The students from the Biological Faculty will start taking samples from the river valley Goren Iskar, including from the Iskar Dam and Pancharevo Bent. Then a laboratory analysis will be made of the different biological components. The results will be used for development of their masters’ and bachelors’ theses. On the grounds of these tests the curricular practical training of the university students in Hydrobiology and Biological Control will be conducted for bachelors and masters. By their visit in the treatment plants and facilities of SV in Bistritsa PWTP and Kubratovo WWTP they will become acquainted by demonstrations with the complete technological water cycle: from the water catchment area, which includes natural water bodies, maintaining a big diversity of various living communities to the facilities, transferring this ‘live (natural) water’ in a very good product for the drinking and household needs of Sofia. At the end of the process the used tap water passes through Kubratovo wastewater treatment plant. The students will be able to see how wastewater is treated and returned back ‘live’ to nature, i.e. with properties for life of the ecosystem.
An example of successful partnership between business and university
The innovative approach of active cooperation between the educational institution and a leading company in the water sector is expected to have a significant impact on the specific competences and motivation of the students from the Biological Faculty, as well as on their success in the future. The partnership is an example of the consistent policy maintained by Sofiyska Voda and Veolia for the implementation of complex and actual measures in compliance with COP 21 – the global agreement on the reduction of hazardous emissions in nature, reached in Paris at the end of 2015.
The ‘Live Water’ project is to end with two individual photo exhibitions, which trace the way of water, sites captured by the camera during the research and laboratory work, as well as with the official public defense of diploma theses in Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, and it will enrich with its new methods the knowledge of the quality of waters of the Iskar River.