Tallinn University of Technology
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Daily Allowable Maximum Loads to decrease nutrient load to the Gulf of Riga (DAML), Est-Lat 168

Project duration:   01.05.2020 - 30.04.2022

One of the major water protection problems is progressive eutrophication of Gulf of Riga (GoR), caused, inter alia, by nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) discharge by rivers to GoR, both on Estonian and Latvian side.

In Latvia, concentrations of nitrogen compounds are monitored in five largest rivers of Latvia discharging into the GoR: Daugava, Lielupe, Gauja, Salaca, and Irbe. In Estonia, the river Pärnu has the largest catchment area amongst the rivers discharging to the GoR in Estonia. In addition to Pärnu, there are also other smaller rivers influencing the nitrogen load of GoR.

Actual total nitrogen loads to the GoR from the territory of Latvia varies from 36 000 to 88 000 tons per year, and ca 13 000 to 20 000 tons per year from the territory of Estonia.

The HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission, the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention; see also http://www.helcom.fi) Baltic Sea Action Plan proposed the nutrient reduction scheme, including Maximum Allowable Inputs of nutrients and Country-Allocated Reduction Targets to reduce nutrient inputs. The water quality standards are set on national level and every member state is responsible for evaluation of the possibilities for further decrease of riverine nutrient load where it would be more realistic and cost-effective. It requires respective analysis and evaluation of the maximum allowable loads of pollutants.

The objective of the project is twofold:

  • to develop, test and promote a novel methodology for Estimation of Daily Allowable Maximum Loads (DAML) of pollutants in order to decrease nutrient load to the GoR;
  • to involve interested parties in selected pilot areas (incl. the rivers Pärnu in Estonia and Salaca in Latvia and their tributaries) in order to reach agreements on new/more effective measures for achievement of the pollution reduction targets for these areas of the GoR.

Results of development and testing DAML will be used to trigger new and innovative cooperation arrangements among the main land users who are the cause of excessive nutrients. Within such cooperation arrangements it will be possible to engage all the main actors in the river basin to contribute to the nutrient reduction and implementation of measures. It will also allow for the environmental authorities to provide financial support to environmental protection measures in a more cost-effective way by targeting the main pollution sources to achieve the highest nutrient reduction.

The Project consists of the following logically connected and sequencing WPs:

  • WP T1 Development and testing of DAML, incl.
    • To develop novel methodology for assessment of required and possible reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus riverine loads and for achieving of the quality criteria set for the rivers, lakes and the coastal sea.
    • To test the developed methodology on selected pilot areas, which are influencing GoR in Latvia and Estonia.
    • Analysis in the watershed to define significant pollution sources of nutrient load that helps to prepare specific mitigation measures for nutrient reduction.
  • WP T2 Involving local stakeholders for setting pollution reduction targets, incl.
    • To involve interested parties in selected pilot areas and introduce the methodology and analysis results to stakeholders.
    • To foster agreements between stakeholders in pilot areas on new measures/more effective measures to achieve the pollution reduction targets for Estonia and Latvia and maximum allowable inputs of nutrients to the Estonian and Latvian marine areas of the GoR.

The total project budget is 304 804 EUR from which the Estonia-Latvia programme contributes 259 083,40 EUR and the contribution of the partners is 45 720,60 EUR.

Project partners