Freshwater - National Responses (Latvia)
Implemented and planned measures to reduce the pollution of freshwater at national level
Since 2000, a number of fundamental laws have been adopted to ensure sustainable development of the water ecosystem and relevant Cabinet of Ministers regulations incorporating EU water legislation. The water management system has been reorganised and environmental protection measures are planned for river catchment basins. River basin management plans have also been developed and measures adopted.
Measures have also been introduced to reduce point source discharge pollution. In order to curb discharge of pollutants from waste water, the whole of Latvia has been designated as highly-sensitive territory for which special urban waste water treatment requirements apply. In addition, authorities have been set up to regulate pollutant discharge and use of water resources. Between 1995 and 2008, environmental protection projects totalling LVL 488.15 million were implemented. The largest proportion (LVL 385.55 million or around 79 %) was invested in water services development to improve waste water treatment and collection and to provide good quality drinking water. Most of the financing (LVL 93.56 million) originated from EU funds (Phare, ISPA, the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund) and from bilateral cooperation programmes. In recent years, investments to develop environmental protection for water services have increased considerably in Latvia.
Figure 11: The dynamics of investments in water services development (LVL million per annum), 1995–2008
Source: Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Latvia
Landfill sites which pose a potential risk as a source of point pollution have been reconstructed and historically contaminated sites are gradually being cleansed. From June 2010, a limitation will be imposed on phosphorus content in detergents: the maximum
permissible phosphorus content in household detergents must not exceed 0.5 % of the total mass.
To protect water and soil from diffuse source pollution, a part (12.6 %) of Latvian territory under intensive agricultural production has been defined as a nitrate-vulnerable zone. Various restrictions have been imposed on agricultural production in this area: buffer zones, limitations on the application of fertilisers, requirements governing manure storage, soil treatment methods, etc. In order to reduce diffuse pollution resulting from other human activities or originating in natural processes, protective belts have been established for watercourses and water bodies and in the vicinity of drinking water abstraction sites.
Considerable investments have also been made in waste management. Between 1995 and 2008, some LVL 79.59 million (about 16 % of all investment in the environmental sector) was invested in the development of waste management.
- The Ministry of Environment
- Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LEGMC)
- Public databases, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre, Water use
- Surface Water Quality Report 2008 [in Latvian]
- Surface Waters Quality Report 2007 [in Latvian]
- Surface Waters Quality Report 2006 [in Latvian] Maps
- State of the Environment, National Report 2008 (in Latvian)
- Sustainable Development Indicators in Latvia 2006 [in Latvian]
- Sustainable Development Indicators in Latvia 2003 [in Latvian)]
- Environmental indicators in Latvia 2002 [in English]
- Action programme for vulnerable zones subject to special requirements for the protection of water and soil against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources (18 March 2004 [in Latvian]
- Environmental policy planning documents