The goal is to improve the water quality and climate resilience of agriculture-heavy areas around the Baltic Sea. Involving local actors and developing practices speed up the work to reach the goal.
Despite targets for water quality set by national and international legislation nutrient and sediment runoffs are still significant in many regions around the Baltic Sea. There seems to be a lack of capacity among local authorities to reach these targets and at the same time develop competitive rural businesses. The Waterdrive (Water driven rural development in the Baltic Sea Region) project enhances local implementation practices for responsible water management by providing tools and training for about 20 rural communities. Developing locally suited practices enables efficient and financially sensible ways of implementing regulation.
Pilot projects will develop the cooperation between stakeholders, increase the impact and work out the financing of agricultural water management projects. Best practices will be sought out and implemented in practice and multimedia educational material will be produced. Digital tools will be developed for managing drought and flood risks and for optimizing the selection of sites to carry out measures. When the end of the project approaches a guide will be produced compiling recommendations for water management practices on agricultural areas around the Baltic Sea.
The WATERDRIVE consortium, consisting of 18 partners from the EU countries, brings together national, regional and local authorities, research institutes, agricultural advisory organisations, interest groups, environmental NGO’s and businesses. The Finnish partners include Finnish Environment Institute, the Finnish Field Drainage Association, ProAgria Southern Finland, Natural Resource Institute Finland, and Baltic Sea Action Group. The Finnish organisations participate widely in the entire project focusing especially on certain themes.
BSAG’s work in the project mainly promotes knowledge exchange and cooperation between different stakeholders. BSAG also leads an activity compiling best practises for financing collaborative local projects. Participating in Waterdrive strengthens BSAG’s work on climate smart agriculture on the Carbon Action platform by enabling the establishing of strong links and collaboration across the existing work on farming practises and soil and water management provided by the Waterdrive project. BSAG’s existing cooperation with various actors in the regions of Southern and Southwestern Finland provides a strong expert and stakeholder basis for joint learning through testing practises and measures. In Finland, Waterdrive will be implemented in practice in the River Porvoo catchment area, where the aim of drainage renovation works (coordinated by ProAgria Southern Finland) is to sustainably improve drainage and mitigate flood risks while preserving the fisheries and spawning grounds.
Waterdrive runs until June 2021 and is coordinated by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The project website will be opened soon, until then, more information is available on the Interreg website.