The general principles of the water use and protection are established by the Water Act, which is based on the EU Framework Directive on water policy and the Framework Directive on the sea strategy in order to ensure sustainable development and the natural status of water, and keep the quality, amount and regime of surface and groundwater as unviolated by human activity as possible. The aim of both directives is to ensure or acquire a good water status of inland bodies of surface water and coastal waters by 2015 and for the sea by the year 2021.
Based on the water economy plans, 74% of Estonian rivers, 50% of lakes and only 2 of 16 coastal water bodies have been evaluated having at least good ecological status. The aim of planning water protection and use is to continuously improve the condition of water by decreasing the load of human activity on the water environment and obtaining measures for decreasing the load and improving its status.
To have organized systemic water protection is necessary to ensure continuous information reception about the status of water bodies, the load on the water environment and the measures implemented.
The general data characterizing the water objects of Estonia:
- 1 995 watercourses (rivers, streams)
- 400 inland stagnant water bodies (lakes)
- Sea area in total ~45 000 km2
- Coastal water ~ 14 400 km2
Water sets specified on bodies of water, the status of which can be estimated today:
- In watercourses – 639 sets
- In inland stagnant water bodies – 95 sets
- In coastal water – 16 sets
The main data of the plans and use of inland surface water and sea protection comprises:
Data characterizing the status of water
- Collection of status data is based on the monitoring data. The monitoring data are numerical values, from which none expresses an evaluation of the status of the water body. As a result of the activities of this project, the area of government of the Ministry of the Environment can provide reliable evaluations of the status of surface water, based on the monitoring data.
Data characterizing the load on the water environment
- As for data concerning load, only the data characterizing water extraction and point sources are collected and used in Estonia. As a result of an inventory, an overview of barrages on water bodies has been compiled. Information about other data characterizing the load on water environment is insufficient.
Data of the measures implemented
- Information about the measures for organizing water economy is totally absent in Estonia. The measures are planned and obtained rather on the basis of national or regional priorities than following the water economy needs.
For the integrated management of marine and inland water
water-related data have to be used in an integrated and related manner; changing of data in the future should be evaluated and forecasted, as well as decisions made for obtaining measures based on their expected performance and cost efficiency.
- the currently existing databases have to be changed, updated and their availability improved;
- contemporary possibilities have to be used for making decisions, as well as simplifications in the form of several models and standard calculation principles that ensure comparability with other countries;
- make the decision making process related to water economy easier and better understandable for the involved persons, make data on water economy well available and decisions well-reasoned.
For that following tasks are needed:
Modernize water related data which is related to water status (state monitoring), load on the water environment and measures describing information about water environment i.e. to develop systemic solution which:
- evaluates the status of bodies of water which will be basis for planning measures of improvement of the status of water if needed;
- load evaluation, which enables evaluating importance and the significance of the main load of the catchment areas;
- evaluation and planning of measures concluding basic and complementary basic measures, supplementary and complementary additional measures of bodies of water based on the each water bodie.
Select and implement the models, which help to evaluate and model the missing monitoring data related to the status, load manifestation and measures applied on the body of water. Implemented models need to be integrated to the overall system in the way that the users of the system don’t have to know the specifications of the models but models must provide to evaluate and model:
- watercourses (rivers)
- inland stagnant bodies of water (lakes)
- coastal waters
Develop and compile the system of applications and queries, which operates through the specific user interface and enables submit queries straight from the up to date data and also from the data of the models of the overall system i.e.:
- submit queries for status evaluations of the bodies of water and to model them;
- submit queries for load evaluations and to model them;
- submit queries for measure evaluations and to model the measure related evaluations.