Key messages on water, growth and sustainability
- The water resources and the hydraulic infrastructure assets in the Kaliningrad Oblast are in a poor condition. This situation poses a direct threat to both the human and natural environments in the region. Regular flooding, polluted water bodies and inadequate water supply and sanitation provide evidence that water resources management need to be improved to avoid financial burdens to the economy.
- The strategic water resources assets are to a large extend transboundary. The main water resources in the Kaliningrad Oblast are the transboundary river basins Pregola (Kaliningrad Oblast and Poland) and Neman (Belarus, Kaliningrad Oblast, Lithuania and Poland) and the two linked brackish lagoons: the Vistula and the Curonian. The water resources in the Kaliningrad Oblast have a transborder character with Poland upstream and Lithuania downstream. There are some 610 rivers and streams in the Kaliningrad Oblast mainly belonging to these two large river basins that flow to the Baltic Sea. The location of the Kaliningrad Oblast enclave link it to the broader Baltic Sea community of 14 basin countries and nine littoral states. The Baltic Sea is in itself heavily polluted from eutrophication and hazardous substances stemming from agriculture and industry.
- The Russian Federation has a good water law but the authority to manage water is fragmented between many institutions and stakeholders in the Kaliningrad Oblast. The Water Code of the Russian Federation (2007) offers a comprehensive and well structured regulatory framework for water resources management and development. Implementation of the measures prescribed in the law relating to monitoring of water bodies, integrated use and protection of water bodies appears weak. There is a complex and fragmented structure of stakeholders using or and managing the resource. Consequently there is scope to begin to manage water more effectively by involving the different levels of administration and other stakeholders on the ground by clarifying responsibilities between the different stakeholders.
- Examples of effective water management in several Baltic Sea Region states demonstrate major health, economic and ecosystem benefits. Water resources management and development include in its broadest definition water resources information management and monitoring, governance aspects, and the generation of goods and services at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. Risk strategies such as managing floods and climate change impacts are usually included.
- In the case of Sweden and the Mälardalen region, a few decades of conscious and dedicated planning and implementation of water laws and proper development policy levers have turned Lake Mälaren from a water resource posing risks to human health and reversing economic advances to become the foremost clean water supply source in the region, serving two million people in the greater Stockholm area. Water resources play a crucial part in the Mälardalen region which is one of the most dynamic economic regions in Sweden, supplying clean water to many sectors including: industry; agriculture; freshwater and coastal fishing; health; tourism; recreation, and innovation in urban planning through the development of ecologically more friendly urban settlements by the water fronts.