Adaptation of a Method for Involving Environmental Aspects in Spatial Planning of River Basin Management-A Case Study of the Narva River basin/Keskkonnaaspekti Ruumilisse Planeerimisse Haaramise Meetodi Kohandamine Vesikonna Veemajandusega-Narva Joe Valgla Juhtumiuuring

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A central target of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to achieve a good status of all European waterbodies (European Community, 2000). As most water pollution emanates from diffuse sources, the WFD challenges many existing land-use practices, especially those determined by agricultural production and urban development (overview in Moss, 2004). Consequently, the directive discourages intensive agriculture on land close to lakes and rivers and encourages minimization of urban run-off and retaining water in wetlands or polders. In those catchments where WFD objectives require strict protective measures, the use of land for agricultural production and urban settlements may fall under conflicts of interests (Moss, 2004). This paper seeks methodological ways to overcome such conflicts with more eco-efficient land-use planning.

An example of an area with such conflicting interests is the Narva River basin, which hosts two large lakes--Peipsi and Vortsjdrv--of moderate ecological status. These lakes are eutrophied due to the load of phosphorus (Noges & Noges, 2006). The most significant contributing driving force has been found to be agricultural diffuse load, followed by household and industrial wastewaters (Ministry of Environment, 2010a). Considering also other waterbodies and groundwater in that drainage basin, other most significant drivers are oil shale based power engineering, drainage, dams, and peat mining (Ministry of Environment, 2010a). Such various land-demanding economic activities in the Narva basin provide an opportunity to test how advancements in land-use planning methodologies might generate more sustainable river basin management solutions.

STUDY AREA

"Water Scenarios for Europe and for Neighbouring States (SCENES)", a project under the EU 6th Research Framework Programme, selected the Narva River drainage basin as one of the pilot study areas for developing and analysing a set of comprehensive scenarios of Europe's freshwater futures up to 2050. These scenarios will provide a reference point for long-term strategic planning of European water resource development. In the SCENES project, the Narva basin represents the Eastern Baltic region.

The Narva basin (56 200 km2) is located in Estonia and the Russian Federation (Fig. 1). The area is situated in the central part of the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea and has a population of approximately 1.1 million. Forests and semi-natural areas dominate in the flat drainage basin, which has its highest point at 338 m above sea level and an average elevation of 163 m. The area includes the large Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe, which consists of three unequal parts: the largest in the north known as Lake Peipsi s.s. (2603 [km.sup.2]) is connected through the narrow strait-like Lake Lammijarv/Teploe (240 [km.sup.2]) to the southern part called Lake Pihkva/Pskovskoe (710 [km.sup.2]). The water of Peipsi (25 [km.sup.3]) has a residence time of two years. The Narva River is 77 km long and has its source in the northeastern part of Lake Peipsi. The Baltic Sea receives an average of about 400 [m.sup.3] [s.sup.-1] of water from the Narva River.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

METHODOLOGY

To comply with practical guidance of WFD Common Implementation Strategy, an analysis of pressures and impacts of river basins should follow the Drivers--Pressures--State--Impacts--Responses (DPSIR) approach of the European Environmental Agency (Smeets & Weterings, 1999; IMPRESS, 2002). In this framework, 'Driving Forces' mean economic factors and human activities while 'Pressures' serve as the ways how drivers affect the environment. 'State' refers to the quality of the environment, which is affected by the pressures. State, in turn, affects human health, ecosystems, and natural resources, which together form 'Impacts'. Finally, impacts lead to 'Responses' in society such as environmental regulations. Among these regulations, this paper focuses on large-scale spatial development plans. …