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Waters, ecosystems and local communities are under stress in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), affected by high nutrient loadings and eutrophication. Responsible management of water resources in agricultural areas can reduce nutrient loadings by 30-50% and provide for healthier waters and more productive ecosystems.

Inactive project


Water driven rural development in the Baltic Sea Region (WATERDRIVE) will enhance the opportunities and capacities for local authorities and communities in agricultural areas to reach such targets in a general context of sustainability and resource efficient growth.

WATERDRIVE is a pan-Baltic project with activities supporting transnational cooperation and actions in eight countries: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

The project aims to enhance local implementation practices for responsible water management, to improve water quality and strengthen ecosystem services. Specifically, the project boosts:

  • capacity building for best practices in policy implementation among multiple actors,
  • facilitation by catchment officers,
  • new technologies and decision support,
  • spatial planning for precision water management,
  • flood and drought management,
  • and adaptation of policies and compensation systems.

Activities are geared towards improving local implementation practices and achieving sustainable impact. The project does not focus on any specific measure or action, but provides tools and capacities for the target groups so that they can  optimise the management of their own water resources and ecosystems on a long-term basis.Thus, the partnership incorporates a wide range of target groups, including local/regional authorities, agricultural advisory services, practitioners, farming communities and other water/land managers.

WATERDRIVE will combine environmental objectives with social and economic development objectives in rural areas.

There are major gaps in the realisation of water quality targets set by national and international directives (e.g. the EU Water Framework Directive), according to national program evaluations, reviews by the European Court of Auditors, and Helsinki Comission (HELCOM ) assessments. The wide gaps reflect the lack of real opportunities and capacities for local authorities and communities to reach these targets and still develop a competitive rural business. WATERDRIVE aims to bridge these gaps.

Videos: what is WATERDRIVE aiming to achieve?

Video: SEI / YouTube.

Video: SEI / YouTube.

Video: SEI / YouTube.

SEI team

Piret Kuldna

Senior Expert (Green and Circular Economic Transformations Unit)

SEI Tallinn

Design and development by Soapbox.