Themes and projects

Eutrophication, barriers to fish migration and environmental pollutants are the most serious environmental problems in the Northern Baltic Sea River Basin District. LIFE IP Rich Waters aims at developing new and better methods to combat these problems in a cost-effective way.

Illustration: Tobias Flygar

The project addresses five main thematic areas, described below. More information about each sub-action is available in Swedish.

Water planning

Water issues are found in many areas of municipal activity, such as planning and construction processes, environmental monitoring and sewage management. Other important stakeholders in water planning are national and county level authorities and companies.

1. Improved implementation

Results will be used for national guidelines and general application in other Swedish River Basin Districts.

2. Integrated water planning

Development and management of an advisory function for water planning at the municipal level and new approaches to plan for good water status.

Within this project a handbook for strategic water planning has been produced. Read the summary of the handbook

Jenny Enberg, the County administrative board of Stockholm, gives a presentation of the Handbook for efficient water planning which has been developed within LIFE IP Rich Waters.

3. Climate adaptation and ecosystem services

Identification of overflow areas, contaminated areas and the effect on water status and ecosystem services. The projects includes identification of water related ecosystem services today and in the future, taking into account climate change.

4. Project development and coordination

Project development to plan, finance and build partnerships for new complementary actions.

Eutrophication from agriculture, waste water and storm water

Eutrophication is one of the most serious environmental problems in the Northern Baltic Sea River Basin District. Almost all coastal waters and half of the lakes and other waters bodies in the districts are considered to be affected by eutrophication.

This theme deals with all sources of nutrients transported from catchment areas to water bodies. Our sub-projects include:

5. Better eutrophication policy instruments

Analysis of eutrophication policy instruments to decrease eutrophication from agriculture.

6. Water plans at the farm level

Water planning advisory function at the farm level. This project also includes a pilot project with concrete measures to reduce nutrient load in horse keeping.

Julmyra Horse Center is a facility in the municipality of Heby, mainly focused on trotting and hosting about 200 horses. In this film, Carin Barrsäter, project manager and environmental expert at Julmyra Horse Center, talks about the measures taken to reduce the risk of nutrient leakage, such as working with stormwater management and routines for tending pastures and taking care of horse manure.

7. Decrease eutrophication at the river basin level

Capacity building and planning to decrease eutrophication from agriculture at the river basin level, in rivers Sagån, Kilaån and Hågaån.

8. Decision support tools

Decision support tools, such as maps and models, to reduce eutrophication from agriculture and optimize localization and choice of measure at local and regional scales.

9. Storm water purification

Finding phosphorus and pollutants in storm water – best practice and innovation.

10. Multi-functional water parks

Multi-functional water parks as storm water treatment and post purification step for sewage water. The project includes exchange of knowledge and experience between all stakeholders and water parks in Västerås, Uppsala and Smedjebacken.

In this film you get to visit Uppsala’s multifunctional stormwater park. The park is being built in the southwestern parts of Uppsala to purify stormwater before it reaches River Hågaån and later Lake Mälaren. Åsa Hedin, project manager at Uppsala municipality, shows us around the facilities and talks about the different aspects of the work process. The film was shot in March 2021.

Eutrophication from internal loading

Eutrophication of lakes and coastal waters is enhanced when phosphorus and other nutrients leak from the sediments into the water – so called internal loading.

11. Tools to combat internal loading

Development of tools to combat internal phosphorus loading in lakes and coastal waters.

12. Restauration of Lake Öljaren

Environmentally friendly removal of phosphorus-rich sediment from Lake Öljaren. The sediment will be re-used as fertilizer in agriculture.

13. Treatment of Lake Norrviken

Performing a full treatment of stop internal phosphorus loading in Lake Norrviken, including an evaluation of possible adverse effects on contaminant levels in fish.

14. Mussel farming in the Northen Baltic Sea region

Demonstration and evaluation of mussel farming as an in-situ measure for nutrient reduction of eutrophication of coastal waters in the Stockholm archipelago.


Many fish species need to be able to move up and downstream in water ways and lakes. Their paths are currently hampered by ponds, power plants and other physical barriers in the aquatic environment.

15. Strategy to recover connectivity

Development of a systematic strategy and toolbox on how to recover connectivity of rivers in the Northern Baltic Sea River Basin District.

16. Free migration passages for fish in a city context

Construction of fish passages and demonstration sites at Slottsbron and Falkenbergska kvarnen in Västerås.

Welcome to visit the award-winning fauna passage in central Västerås! The fauna passage has been built with the support of LIFE IP Rich Waters and was inaugurated in June 2019. It opens up migration possibilities from Lake Mälaren and up river Svartån for the first time since 1891. In this film, Susanna Hansen, City of Västerås and Johan Lind, Mälarenergi, tell us about the history of the old hydropower plant, the road to a political decision, technical considerations and what the fish seem to think about the new opportunity to migrate up the river.

17. Adaptation of hydropower to benefit endangered species

Adaptation of hydropower to reach good water status in rivers Rällsälven and Hedströmmen, protecting endangered Natura 2000 species.

Environmental pollutants

Environmental pollutants in surface water can be derived from today’s industries and households, but are also a result of old emissions and polluted land.

18. Measures for emission reduction of pollutants

Coordination of sampling of contaminants and identification of measures for emission reduction of contaminants in water, biota and sediments.

19. Salix to remediate contaminated areas

Testing and evaluation of biological methods to remediate contaminated areas, using biomass forestry (salix).

20. Boat bottom washes

Construction of two boat bottom washes, in Stockholm and in Västerås, to limit the use of toxic anti-fouling.