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1. General Information

In 2004, the European Water Framework Directive was incorporated into Swedish legislation. The Water Framework Directive commits all of the EU Member States to cooperate on water issues. The overall aim is to achieve good status in all waters by the year 2015. In Sweden, the introduction of the Water Framework Directive has led to a better overview on water issues, clearer aims for water quality and a more active involvement of all interested parties. Water cuts across geographical and organisational boundaries. The river basin management is based on the water’s natural flow. This means that Sweden is divided into five water districts. One County Administrative Board in each district has been appointed River Basin District Authority.
  • Information on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and water management in Sweden is available on these pages :
             - The Competent Authorities (Vattenmyndigheterna)
             - Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket)
             - The Geological Survey of Sweden (Sveriges Geologiska Undersökning)
  • Key documents and links to key documents are available also centrally in the Commission's CIRCA on line library.

2. Specific Information

The task of coordinating the work in each district and ensuring that the different organisations are working towards the same goal lies with the five River Basin District Authorities. The national authorities the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Geological Survey of Sweden guide the River Basin District Authorities by creating regulations and guidelines, amongst other things. The Swedish Government has the ultimate responsibility for carrying out the Water Framework Directive.

At every River Basin District Authority there is a Water District Board that makes decisions on the authority’s various fields of responsibility. The Water District Board is made up of experts from different fields, and is appointed by the Government. Sweden’s municipalities and County Administrative Boards have important roles in the water management. They contribute a knowledge base to the River Basin District Authorities, and perform a great deal of the operative work on local and regional levels.

Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP)

The environment ministers of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea and the
European Commission on 15 November 2007 decided on a joint action programme (BSAP) to attain good environmental status by 2021.The action programme applies to the whole of the Baltic Sea, except for the
eutrophication section, which applies to the Baltic Proper, the Sound and the Kattegat. The plan consists of four main segments and another four sections. The main segments are concerned with eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity including fisheries, and maritime activities (shipping, accidents, emergency and response capability etc.). The other four sections deal with the development of assessment tools and methodologies, public participation and awareness raising, financing and finally implementation and review of the plan. Under the plan, the countries accept the description of the environmental status of the Baltic Sea, the Sound and the Kattegat, as well as a number of formulated environmental objectives. With regard to eutrophication, a temporary distribution has been agreed for the level of reduction in discharges to the various basins from each country – “burden sharing” (reduction requirement). The measures in the eutrophication segment are to be implemented in 2016. A combined assessment of the effect of the measures is to be made for the meeting of environment ministers in 2013.


Other players than the ones listed above are:
  • The Swedish Water and Wastewater Association (SWWA) - The Swedish Water & Wastewater Association, SWWA, collects and evaluates statistical data. SWWA has several ad hoc working groups with experts from member municipalities covering the whole field of municipal water and wastewater activities. SWWA publishes a journal, newsletters and reports. The association is a member of the European Union of National Association of Water Supplies (EUREAU) and administers the national secretariat for the International Water Association (IWA). At present, SWWA has all 290 Swedish municipalities as its members. Another of SWWA's obligations is to not only initiate but also to sponsor research and development within the field. On an international level SWWA promotes the dissemination of Swedish know-how.
  • Siwi - The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis. SIWI manages projects, synthesises research and publishes findings and recommendations on current and future water, environment, governance and human development issues. SIWI serves as a platform for knowledge sharing and networking between the scientific, business, policy and civil society communities. SIWI builds professional capacity and understanding of the links between water-society-environment-economy.
  • Avloppsguiden (available in Swedish only) - Avloppsguiden is a national knowledge resource on private sewage systems with information useful to building owners, municipal officials, contractors and interested public. The information is independent and commercial components are kept separate from other information.
  • VARIM - The trade association VARIM stands for the Swedish Association of Suppliers of Effluent and Water Treatment Equipment. The members of VARIM are Swedish companies who design and supply equipment for the purification and conditioning of potable water, industrial process water and industrial and municipal wastewater.
  • SET - Swedish Environmental Technology, is a network comprising highly-qualified Swedish environmental technology companies. Their goal is to permit access for the consumer to environmental technology expertise through a network of Swedish companies.

Pratical Examples

  • Hammarby Sjöstad – a new environmental and ecological city district project
The water has inspired the name of the entire project – the town around the lake Hammarby Sjö. The first drawings of what would become Hammarby Sjöstad were penciled in back in 1990. The idea was to showcase a unique opportunity – expanding the inner city with a focus on the water, while converting an old industrial and harbor area into a modern neighborhood. Once fully built, Hammarby Sjöstad will have 11, 000 residential units for just over 25,000 people and a total of about 35,000 people will live and work in the area. Hammarby Sjöstad will be fully built by 2015.

One of Hammarby Sjöstad’s goals is to reduce water consumption by 50% to 100 liters/ person/day. Thanks to eco-friendly installations (energy class A: washing machines and dishwashers, low flush toilets and air mixer taps), consumption levels are currently approximately 150 litres/person/day. It is even more important to reduce the amount of heavy metals and non-biodegradable chemicals present in wastewater, because this will result in fewer contaminants being dispersed into the Stockholm archipelago via the treated wastewater, and will also give a better residual product, known as sludge, which can be reused on agricultural land. The strategy to systematically work with the customers and society to reduce the amount of chemicals flushed into the wastewater system is called the Upstream approach. The Upstream approach is now endorsed by many wastewater companies throughout Europe as being part of their core business. By monitoring the wastewater, we can see whether campaigns in this area have any effect on the quality of the wastewater.

All storm water, rainwater and snowmelt is treated locally in a variety of ways, and the system is referred to collectively as LOD (the Swedish acronym for “local storm water treatment”). Storm water from developed areas is infiltrated into the ground or drained to Sickla Canal, Hammarby Canal or Danvik
Canal. A storm water canal runs through the park Sjöstadsparterren
(the Sjöstaden parterre). The water runs from the surrounding buildings and courtyards via numerous small gutters and is then carried on to Hammarby
Sjö through a water ladder designed by the artist, Dag Birkeland

The green roofs seen on some of the buildings in Sjöstaden are another link in the local storm water treatment (LOD) chain. Their task is to collect the rainwater, delay it and evaporate it. At the same time, the small, dense sedum plants form living green areas in the cityscape.
  • Mitigation measures to reduce Phosphorus leakage from arable land, ditch dams and ditch filters

One major problem for the healthy state of the Baltic Sea is Phosphorus leakage from agricultural land to the sea. Desk/lab studies estimates the potential of using ditch dams and ditch filters to reduce this leakage with 30-40%. At the present a project is conducted that will assess the real potential and cost effectiveness for decentralised treatment by ditch dams and ditch filters to reduce phosphorus leakage from arable land around the Baltic Sea.

Field studies are conducted on three sites with wheat or oat on common Swedish soils, silt, light clay and heavy clay, fertilized with commercial fertilizers and one site with heavy clay on sloping ground fertilized with pig manure, i.e. a site with high Phosphorus losses. The number of sites is planned to be expanded with another four sites in Phase 2, in order to cover a wider range of variations in the agricultural landscape. The analyses of Phosphorus reduction capacity will be conducted using flow-proportional monitoring before and after the dam and filter installations.

The evaluation of tests and measurements will provide analysis of the potential of the dam/filter action to reduce Phosphorus transport from arable land, including life span, optimal design, best material, practical implement ability over larger areas, as well as cost-effectiveness data. The sustainability of the filter action partly depends on the post-processing of the exhausted filter material. Experimental spreading of the material on small agricultural plots will be carried out, as well as acid washing which will separate phosphates from the material. Agricultural experts from Russia, Poland and the Baltic States will be consulted during the project. The assessment will be based on satellite imagery and regional agricultural knowledge. Building on the results from this study, as well as on the synthesis of the field studies, a first estimate of the total potential effect on the discharge of Phosphorus to the Baltic Sea will be made.