This event was staged during 2 days from 28 to 29 April and consisted of:
- A study tour designated for visiting historic water mills sites under reconstruction or ruined ones located at the Dubysa River (8 am to 6 pm),
- Practical seminar taking place at Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Kaunas-Akademija (9am to 5 pm).
A main organiser of the Mills days was the Lithuanian Hydropower Association (LHA) in collaboration with Water and Land Management Faculty. The event was held under the auspices of the Water Problem Council of National Academy of Science and Lithuanian Association of Land Management and Hydraulic Engineers. Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture was the main financial supporter.
More than 35 participants visited 5 sites located along the Dubysa River during one-day trip. One site was the water mill undergoing reconstruction, 2 mills with renovated buildings but still not operational (without water conveyance system – weirs), 2 ruined water mills sites and an SHP plant under operation. On the next day the findings of this study tour and newly introduced relevant topics were discussed at the seminar with some 75 attendees (in total 110 participants during both days).
The event was graced by the presence of K. Grybaukas, a MP of the Lithuanian Parliament, who a whole ago proposed an amendment to the National Water Law which aims at facilitating the renovation of historic water mills sites with possible retrofitting them for hydropower generation. This event were attended by V. Kilcauskas, Director of the Dubysa river regional park, representatives of municipalities, the owners of water mills and SHP plants, cultural heritage and environmental protection leading experts, researchers, engineering consultants, farmers, representatives of rural communities and students. In total 10 oral presentations where presented by the project implementers and invited speakers followed a round table discussion which resulted in the final declaration supporting the amendment to the Water Law. If approved by the Parliament, then the RESTOR HYDRO project slogan – “Unleash hydropower potential in Europe” is to become a reality in Lithuania.
- Punys, the Chairman of LHA and person in charge of implementation of the Restor Hydro project in Lithuania spoke about the activities and outcomes of this project. Dr. E. Kasiulis and G. Vicienė (both lecturers at the university) presented the Restor Hydro Map, guidebooks (translated in Lithuanian) on establishment of cooperatives and renovation of historic sites, described ongoing progress on hydro cooperatives in the country. Dr. E. J. Morkunas, deputy Director of Lithuanian population museum, considered technical heritage value of historic hydro sites. G. Peckaitiene (the Chairwomen of Maslauskiskiu water mill foundation) detailed the progress of renovation of the water mill. The established Rauboniai rural community is undertaking refurbishment of an old water mill and retrofitting it for power generation. Their activities are being supported by the Restor Hydro project. A representative of this community, V. Gikys, described the work done so far. There was also presentation about the management of renovation process of historic hydro sites, given by representative of Mykolas Romeris University.
Dr. B. Ruplys of Aleksandras Stulginskis University reminded a 15-year battle for renovation of the Siesartis water mill. L. Jakstas, consulting engineer discussed technical-economic issues during rehabilitation of old hydro sites. G. Dziovenas of Lithuanian Cultural Ministry described aspects of the industrial heritage of old water mills. Environmental aspects were also on the agenda of this seminar.
The participants benefited leaflets, guidebooks and other materials produced by the project, which soft copies are available at LHA website. Coffee and lunch was provided for both days.
The event was advertised at the University, LHA website, Alio Raseiniai newspaper, and a report was published in the “Land Management and Hydraulic Engineering” journal.
The seminar programme, invitation, speakers’ presentations and other relevant information (in Lithuanian) can be assessed from the website of Lithuanian Hydropower Association: http://www.hidro.lt/naujienos.php