Sustainable rural water management for sustainable agriculture







FLOW-BSR is a seed money project to create an application for Baltic Sea Region Programme.

The eventual main project adopts a macro-regional perspective to the challenge of adapting water management and agricultural production in the future climate and will ensure that the countries in the Baltic Sea catchment area have the best available knowledge, tools and empirical references to implement smarter policies and practises in rural water management. Currently, the governance of water quality objectives on the river basin level (implementation of EU Water Framework Directive) and the measures planned are detached from agriculture and input of agricultural stakeholders, although agriculture has a major impact on land use and nutrient flows. There is a gap in policy implementation and integration across the agricultural and water protection policies and this poses a risk to mutual trust across agricultural and environmental sectors and hampers the potential to manage natural resources in a sustainable way and the potential of agriculture and rural communities to support growth in bioeconomy.

The project will synthesize existing knowledge on water quality assessment tools and advance their application as spatial planning tools, involving the current and potential users of modelling results in discussions already in the seed project. The project will test how applications of spatial planning on the municipality level and joining spatial planners with farmers and land owners could help to implement smarter solutions and integrated measures for improved water quality. Here, the concept of natural water retention measures (NWRM) is very relevant, and hence the project will provide a practical setting for testing the application of NWRM´s for water quality, which are gaining increased attention in Europe, albeit more from the perspective of water quantity and flood management. The cross-sector value added of the project comes partly from the aim to consider productive applications of drainage and retention measures, such as with respect to land based aquaculture. Addressing the perceived concern on the costs of the proposed adapted approach, the project will incorporate knowledge on economic aspects and incentives also from other projects and research and will involve credit and insurance institutions as stakeholders in dialogue about the value of environmental measures as investments.

Main outputs:
1. Innovative water governance model tested in pilot regions.
2. Multi-sector platform for policy exchange in the Baltic Sea Region for water governance issues in bioeconomy.
3. Management plans/investments and decision support tools
4. Toolbox for multi-level water governance.