Nistru is the backbone of Moldova, whose communities, economic activities, agriculture and access to the water are organically bound to keeping alive this water artery.

UNDP in Moldova
May 21 · 6 min read

On the eve of Nistru Day, which is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of May, UNDP Moldova and the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment launched a campaign of communication aiming at drawing people’s attention to the environmental problems of the river.

Five local celebrities encouraged people to have a more responsible attitude towards the Nistru river, because it directly affects their quality of life.

“Nistru is something iconic for us, for the Republic of Moldova”

“We were kids, during USSR, we were working in summer camps and even in the colhoz farms. They brought us to Molovata village for two days, to harvest onions, and this was my first time when I saw Nistru. Obviously, I have heard about Nistru before that, but I swam for the first time in the river when we ran away from the teachers who came with us to harvest onion,” recalls Ion Lazarenco, open water swimmer.

“I was very much impressed. Nowadays, I look around and the river looks much smaller than it was back then. When I was a kid, it looked like a large, beautiful river with much cleaner water. I remember looking at my feet and noticing the small fish playing. It was stunning. Now, the river looks smaller and less clean. The memories about the Nistru were much beautiful than present ones,” says the athlete.

Ion Lazarenco știe că 70% din populația Republicii Moldova se alimentează cu apă din bazinul fluviului Nistru, iar 2/3 din teritoriul Moldovei este acoperit de acest bazin.

It is like a living organ and we must pay the necessary attention to how it is breathing and what we are throwing into the water. Do you realize that we eat the fish from the river and therefore we are damaging our own bodies? I can tell that I feel the pain in my soul when I see Nistru, how it is suffering. Unfortunately, we don’t understand this, the river was here long ago before us and will be here after us.


Destroying Nistru is equal to signing a condemnation

For Lilu, journalist, the first memories of Nistru go back when she was a teenager: “I saw Nistru for the first time when I was about 11–12 years old, when we went with my family and relatives to Cosauti, on the bank of the Nistru river. The landscape was so charming, so I spent a very nice period there. One of the most beautiful memories.”

However, the reality that we observe today is different from the idyllic images from her memories:

Now, the last time when I went to Nistru, in the Puhaceni area, I experienced such a big disappointment because almost half of the Nistru was missing, and you could cross it by walking with the water up to the hips. And my soul still hurts a bit.


We are all connected to Nistru

When asked about his memories about Nistru, the singer Pasha Parfeni also goes back to childhood: “The first time when dad took me fishing to the Nistru, I immediately noticed the differences between the lakes that we visited in Orhei before and this absolutely phenomenal river which gave me a distinct impression about the nature in Moldova. When I saw Nistru, I noticed it’s “wild” waters. The fish that we caught had a special taste and appearance in contrast to the ones we used to catch in the lakes. Even now I remember those moments. My dad told me to be aware of vortexes in the water.”

When you find yourself in this ecosystem, sometimes, for several seconds, you can detach yourself from Chisinau, from internet, from social networks, from adult life and live the childhood again.


“I feel sorry that my kids can’t enjoy the river in the same way as we did in childhood”

Ana Irina, a blogger who writes about parenting and a healthy lifestyle, wishes that her family could enjoy Nistru the same way she did in her childhood.

First impressions are certainly connected to the vacations that we used to spend together with my family. We were spending several days here, eating lots of ice-cream and swimming, there are very beautiful memories from those times.


A warning signal: Nistru = the security of country’s water supply

Dmitri Volosin, civic activist and athlete, says that Nistru is the “cradle” of his sports career.

I have several very interesting memories about Nistru, since I was learning how to swim, when I had a challenge to swim across the river. It took me half an hour to swim across to the other bank and I was almost taken by the water current, but when I finally did it, I was very proud and my friends told me “We respect you for that!”. Perhaps after this moment I started to think differently, to practice sport, it was the first injection of the happiness hormone, which led me to practicing sport. For me, Nistru is the cradle of my sports career.

“If something happens to Nistru, the country will have serious problems with water supply,” concludes Dmitri Volosin.


According to International Standards, an annual water supply below 1000 m3 per person obstructs the economic development and people’s life quality. The management plan of Nistru hydrographic basin estimates this figure to around 500 m3 per person annually. Therefore, Moldova is already in a critic situation regarding the access to the water and sustainable economic development.

UNDP Moldova

UNDP in Moldova on Medium: articles, opinions, events

UNDP in Moldova

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In Moldova, UNDP helps people build better lives, by supporting #GlobalGoals.

UNDP Moldova

UNDP in Moldova on Medium: articles, opinions, events

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