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River basins

Water management plan, action plan, overviews and surveys

Pursuant to the framework directive of the water policy of the European Union and the Estonian Water Act, Estonia has been divided into three river basins with a regulation by the Government of the Republic of Estonia: Western Estonian, Eastern Estonian and Koiva river basin. A water management plan and programme of measures has been prepared for each river basin for the years 2015-2021, approved by the Government of the Republic on 7.10.2016. The institution responsible for preparing water management plans is the Ministry of the Environment.

Pursuant to the Water Act, the Environmental Board draws up an action plan for each river basin for the application of the water management plan, which is in turn approved by the Minister of the Environment upon the proposal of the water management committee. Every year, the overview of application of the action plan is prepared and submitted to the water management committee for approval for March 1 of the following year.

Water management plans are updated every six years for a thorough overview of the status of Estonian bodies of water and for planning new activities to improve the condition of rivers, lakes, coastal water and the sea.

Multiple important activities relating to consulting, building, environmental permits, and surveys of bodies of water are executed via water management plans. For example, permits are used to establish restrictions on using water if necessary, fish passages are built on dams to ensure free passage of fish, public awareness is raised on environmentally friendly use of water and private persons, companies as well as local governments are consulted in regards to economic and environmentally friendly use of water. The programme of measures of the water management plan contains over 2000 activities planned for the years 2016-2021 – all these activities help achieve and preserve the good condition of Estonian surface and ground water.


Photo: Elina Leiner

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