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Innovative methods of Barta river basin management system (Barta club)
Date du début: 1 déc. 2001, Date de fin: 31 août 2005 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background The water management systems in Latvia are far from perfect, particularly those systems covering the Barta River, which is home to a range of Salmonidae species (salmons and trouts). Despite the threats, it is extremely important to protect the Salmonidae habitats and spawning grounds for the coming generations. The use of eco-technologies for waste water and drinking water management had not been realised at the level of small rural municipalities in Latvia, with water-related institutional arrangements in all CEE countries and Latvia in particular considered too complicated, non-transparent and financially not self-supporting. Moreover, trans-boundary river basin management had not been a research topic in any Baltic state. Additionally, while the project was being evaluated by DG Environment LIFE Unit, the European Commission approved the Water Framework Directive and Latvia adopted several laws related to this directive, further requiring action related to water management. Objectives The overall of objective was to reduce the pollution levels of the Barta River catchment area. More specifically, the project planned the establishment of a steering committee that would establish a new public institution for river basin management (the participants of which would be the Ministry for Environment Protection and Regional Development, the Regional Environment Management Agency, eight local governments (Barta, Dunika, Gramzda, Kaleti, Nica, Otanki, Rucava and Virga), the Micro-Euro-region Bartuva Association and the Barta Club), taking into account the various interests of different local, national and international and cross-border and Baltic sea basin stakeholders. Then this new management system was to take over the wastewater and drinking water system management from eight local authorities. Next, the project was to develop in partnership with local authorities and project participants an investment system and complete a prioritising of pilot project places for alternative wastewater treatment and drinking water system reconstruction. The project also aimed to produce a sustainable development indicator list for river basin environment management. Finally, three wastewater and drinking water reconstruction demonstration projects were to be established in small communities of up to 2000 inhabitants. These would be alternative eco-engineering projects such as the establishment of biological ponds, wetlands, and energetic forests, which affect the local drinking-water supply system. Results The Water Basin Club, or “Barta Club” was established and participated in the development of local restrictions on water management, the elaboration of SD indicators list, the elaboration of the Barta River management plan, and the elaboration and realisation of local environment quality monitoring system. Additionally, proposals for local restrictions on water quality and its management were drafted in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. The management plan includes ‘Environmental Quality Objectives’. Such objectives for a small river, developed with the extensive involvement of local stakeholders are a real first in Latvia, as up to now, similar objectives have only been developed by experts and for larger rivers such as the Daugava. The quality of the drinking water has increased and, according to data from the Environmental Health Centre, the results are much better than initially planned. When the treatment stations are completed, the inflow of untreated wastewaters into the Barta River basin will be arrested and the possibility of such waters reaching the Baltic Sea basin will also be decreased. Specifically, the per-day inflow of 112 m3 of untreated wastewater to the Barta River and Dunika municipalities will be stopped. The project partner municipalities are planning to continue the development of their water management system with support from EU Structural Funds. The technologies deployed as part of the demonstration projects - de-ironisation and wastewater treatment technologies - were successful. The iron content in drinking water has decreased considerably: The drinking water treatment results showed that for the Virga Community, there was a drop from 0.899 mg /l FeO3 to 0.035; in the Nica Community from 0.856 mg/l to 0.139 mg/l and in Otanki Community from 0.853 mg/l to 0.113 mg/l. A single water operator will allow the municipalities to meet the Water Framework Directive financial sustainability requirements and will halt the need for subsidisation of water management system from municipal budgets. Lastly, co-operation with local schools was also established. School pupils aged 12-18 participated in monitoring activities. This programme is to be continued after the end of the project with funding support from the National Support Programme of the Netherlands. Half the project partner municipalities are to continue participate in public monitoring. It should be noted, however, that the project was not without deficiences. Most notably, the establishment of the “Barta Club” consultative board, which was one of the main aims of the project, was not established on a sound legal basis, with no agreement signed. The running of this consultative board cannot be proven legally. Construction of the wastewater demonstration plants was delayed, as were the dissemination activities. Nonetheless, overall, the project illustrated the benefits for small municipalities of solving large-scale water management problems via a common structure.


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