Implementation of River Basin Management Plans of Latvia towards good surface water status

The enhanced delivery of all four River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) in Latvia is necessary to achieve the EU environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), which requires achievement of good ecological and chemical status or good ecological potential of all surface waters, and achievement of good quantitative and chemical status of groundwater. The European Commission has thrice evaluated Latvian RBMPs: in 2012, 2015 and 2018. A comparison of these assessments leads to the conclusion that Latvian river basin management efforts could be improved, and that more precise or detailed assessments and evaluations could better implement the measures laid down therein.

The overall aim of LIFE GoodWater IP is to improve the status of water bodies at risk in Latvia by means of the full implementation of the measures laid down in the Daugava, Gauja, Lielupe and Venta River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs).

The specific objectives of LIFE GoodWater IP are to:

1)reduce the pollution of water bodies at risk caused by urban wastewater and to diminish the loads of nutrients brought in by wastewater discharges and accumulated in water bodies at risk;
2)reduce the runoff of nutrients and other pollutants from agricultural and forestry lands, especially in the winter period, in order to reduce eutrophication and diffuse pollution of water bodies at risk, with a special focus on reduction of phosphorus inputs;
3)reduce or mitigate the effects of hydrological and morphological alterations of water bodies at risk, including those caused by renovation and reconstruction of land drainage systems;
4)improve river basin management planning and its implementation mechanisms by strategically planned capacity building actions, and addressing the gaps in monitoring system of water bodies at risk to ensure a more efficient implementation of RBMPs in further planning cycles;
5)increase the awareness of various stakeholders and to promote their involvement in the implementation of the RBMPs;
6)provide support to respective authorities for improvements of respective legislative and regulatory documents and policies.

In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of 100 000 000 EUR of complementary funding from EAFRD, CF, ERDF, Norwegian Financial mechanism and other public and private funds.

Expected results: LIFE GoodWater IP will address 164 water bodies at risk in Latvia (89 rivers and 75 lakes). The project expects to achieve good status for 9 of the surface water bodies currently at risk. In the long term, up to 50 water bodies affected by similar pressures and other common characteristics are expected to reach good status as an indirect result of the project. Other expected results include:

  • complete calibrated and validated sustainable SWAT water quality modelling system;
  • improved capacity for efficient sewage sludge and wastewater management national sewage sludge strategy elaborated and approved;
  • reduced pollution with nutrients from agriculture and forestlands – methods and approaches demonstrated (buffer strips on about 15 km, green infrastructure elements on over 8 km, sustainable and environmentally-friendly drainage system elements at 8 demonstration sites);
  • reduced effects of hydrological and morphological modifications – at least one fish pass constructed, reconstruction of at least two culverts, reconstructed of at least 50 km of riverbed in streams incorporated in drainage system, and other mitigation measures performed (e.g. addition of boulders, stones or gravel, addition/removal of large wood debris, removal of silt, vegetation or other objects) in at least 60 km of natural rivers;
  • development and implementation of a small-scale grant scheme for supporting local initiatives at least 8 local initiatives for reducing pollution impacts implemented, at least 8 catchment areas of water bodies at risk positively affected;
  • binding requirements (2) and recommendations/guidelines (9) developed for reducing the pollution loads and impacts of hydro-morphological alterations;
  • new approaches and methods trialled and demonstrated for remediation of significantly affected/polluted water bodies and for improving their status (9 demonstration projects implemented); and
  • a joint cooperation platform developed involving competent authorities, river basin managers and stakeholders (including 19 beneficiaries and 4 consultation groups established at local level.

Project details

  • Project Name: LIFE GOODWATER IP
  • Project management: Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center
  • Funded by: European Union LIFE programme. In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of 100 000 000 EUR of complementary funding from EAFRD, CF, ERDF, Norwegian Financial mechanism and other public and private funds
  • Operational time:01/2020-12/2027
  • Project number: LIFE18 IPE/LV/000014
  • Project website:

Project partners

Engure County Council-Latvia; Institute of Food Safety Animal Health and Environment “BIOR”; Association “Baltic Coasts”-Latvia; Baltic Environmental Forum-Latvia; The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia; The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia; NGO Farmer’s Parliament-Latvia; Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava”; Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre; Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre; Latvian Fund for Nature; Latvia Water and Waste Waterworks Association; State Limited Liability Company “Real Estates of Ministry of Agriculture’’-Latvia; University of Latvia; Baltic Environmental Forum-Latvia; World Wide Fund Latvia; JSC ‘Latvia’s State Forests’; Jelgava Local Municipality, Latvia

Contact persons

  • Kristīna Veidemane
  • Dace Strigune
  • Anda Ruskule

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