Austria: Restoration of Mur River: ecological values and hydropower generation aligned (# 456)
The Upper Mur River is considered as one of the most ecologically valuable rivers of Austria due to the natural reproduction for the Danube salmon. The systematic regulation of the river began at the end of the 19th century, distributaries were cut off and large areas were drained in order to intensify agricultural land use. Restoration measures started in 1997 in the area of the Upper Mur and the “Grenzmur”. Various projects facilitated the renaturation of more than 22 km both in the upper course and the Slovenian border section of the river. A policy issue highlighted by the project is the importance to reconcile key needs for nature conservation with demands for renewable energy generation from small hydro power plants.
Benelux: Farmer participation in water conservation (#29)
In the Netherlands and Belgium, good quality of water has become increasingly scarce. Action was taken and a project was initiated with the objective of conserving water quality and increasing water use efficiency in agriculture. The case illustrates the importance of involving farmers and other water users initially, so that they feel a sense of responsibility and motivation to introduce new approaches.
Bulgaria: Constructed wetlands for rural and peri-urban waste water treatment (#431)
Rural and peri-urban areas are often neglected when making infrastructure investments. However, these areas could gain from treatment of domestic wastewater through the construction of wetlands. In Bulgaria, the problem of wastewater treatment was addressed through the construction of a wetland for treating wastewater from domestic sources. The lesson learnt is the importance of community initiatives.
Bulgaria: Creating a watershed council along Varbitsa river (#142)
In preparation for the new Water Law in Bulgaria, as well as the EU Water Framework Directive, the watershed council was set up as a pilot to test on-site effective and participatory approaches to river resource management in the Varbitsa River. The key lesson drawn is that participatory, open, citizen-friendly and bottom-up approaches are more efficient than top-down administrative approaches.
Bulgaria: Implementation of EU Water Framework Directive (#286)
Implementing the EU Water Framework Directive in Bulgaria required for the first time the full integration of stakeholders and civil society. To this end, the Civil Society Program was launched with the objective to raise awareness and improve existing Bulgarian legislation. This case illustrates that the success of new water policy strongly depends on the efficient participation of all interested parties and the synergy among different sectors.
Czech Republic: Implementation of sustainable sanitation in rural areas; an integrated approach in Hostetin (#467)
Small and medium size communities in Central Europe are faced with severe problems of waste water management. When it comes to waste water management, small settlements (with less than 2,000 inhabitants) lie outside of the concern of water managers and decision makers. A group of citizens initiated a cooperation process with civic associations, members of local authorities and later the cooperation included local small entrepreneurs as well as foreign investors to actualize a number of local projects and initiatives.
Denmark: The Danish Action Plan for the aquatic environment (#267)
The Danish Action Plan for the Aquatic Environment addresses pollution of the Danish water resources, including specific issues relating to the impact of non-point agricultural nitrogen emissions. Action has specifically been taken within the agricultural sector and involved a close monitoring and research of effects. The key lesson drawn from this case study is that successful reduction of the agricultural resources has only been possible through a political commitment and cooperation attitude in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Estonia and Russia: Managing transboundary waters in the Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe basin (#16)
Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe is the largest transboundary lake in Europe. Action has been taken by riparian governments of Russia and Estonia to develop and sign an Agreement on the Protection and Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Bodies. An intergovernmental commission was established to co-ordinate the implementation of this agreement. Co-operation over Lake Peipsi demonstrates how integrated water resource management tools can be applied to transboundary waters shared by countries in transition.
Estonia: Reform of municipal water services (#113)
After the Soviet Union was dissolved, several water sector shortcomings surfaced in Estonia, including poor quality of services, worn-out infrastructure, high water consumption, and pollution/environmental problems. To address these issues, the European Bank for Rehabilitation and Development (EBRD) initiated a study to check the feasibility for a loan for infrastructure rehabilitation and upgrading. This case consequently presents a new approach for financing municipal water services.
Estonia: Testing innovative public participation methods – citizens' jury and focus groups (#272)
To identify the best approach to increase public participation in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, the EU funded research project River Dialogue was initiated, testing two specific participatory methods of citizens’ involvement. This case illustrates the means by which local people, who are not specialists, can take part in discussions and decision-making process of complex environmental issues.