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Water quality in a landscape perspective: a case study of the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1640-8946
2010 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction/Problem IdentificationThe EU Water Framework Directive was introduced the year 2000 to protect and secure all water resources within the European Union. The directive is designed to have an ecosystem management approach where the water quality and quantity is administrated in relation to the borders of the river basin. During the period from 2000 to 2015 the European countries and their new water authorities are into the implementation process of the directive; classifying the status of their water resources, designing the river basin management plan, as well as the programme of measures. In Sweden five water authorities are responsible for the implementation process, each handling river basins at different scale levels from local to regional size entering the same coastal waters.Analysis/Results and Implications for Policy and/or ResearchIn this case study, focusing on the ongoing implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) in Sweden, we analyze some of the opportunities and challenges for a sustainable governance of water resources applying an ecosystem management approach. The study area is the Lake Mälaren drainage basin within the Northern Baltic Sea River Basin District in Sweden. This district covers the Lake Mälaren drainage basin and Stockholm archipelago region constituting an ecological and geographic gradient from inland to freshwater archipelago and further to the brackish archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The drainage basin represents an area with a long history both in agricultural as well as mining history, which are quite separated in different sub-catchments. Historic mining remnants from at least the 12th century leaking metals and acid water into rivers and creeks in the western upstream parts of the catchment, and intense agriculture in the lowland areas in the vicinity of the lake in the downstream parts is leaking nutrients adding to the eutrophication. Most rivers within the area have been modified during the history; dammed for mills, rivers straightened and wetlands dredged to increase the land matching the increase of inhabitants. Also the present day situation show differences when it comes to land-use within the catchment, where the north western part is rural and low populated, and at the same time one third of the Swedish population is found within lake Mälaren catchment. The densest population is found in cities at the shore of the lake, with a increas-ing density towards Stockholm. At regional level future scenarios due to climate change varies, but in some simulations there is an increased precipitation in the area creating a risk scenario of flooding that may result in a transgression in the lowland areas, degraded water quality and increased nutrient levels. Studying the drainage basin of Lake Mälaren therefore makes it possible to compare different water issues between sub-catchments within the same drainage basin, and also at different geographi-cal scales since water quality priorities can be scale related.The study is based on hydrological data, and data of the physical characteristics of the Lake Mälaren river basin and the different sub-catchments characteristics (area, shape, land use...), and analyzed using GIS techniques. The sub-catchments are compared concerning different scientific aspects as well as issues addressed by the stakeholders. The complexity of large river basins is discussed, and the importance of different solutions in upstream and downstream sub-catchments due to variable Workshop 1: Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control    57landscape character, land use and history. In the light of the new EU Water Framework Directive the study point to the importance of flexible river basin management from regional to local scale, and vice versa, to create an adaptive ecosystem management where problems can be discussed and solved at a proper scale level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
river basin, catchment characteristic, ecosystem management, scale, GIS
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-113318OAI: diva2:587652
World Water Week, September 5-11, 2010, Stockholm.

QC 20130604

Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2013-06-04Bibliographically approved

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Mörtberg, Ulla
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