Pilot watersheds as a practical tool to reduce the harmful inflows into the Baltic Sea.

P2 Sustainable use of common resources

2.4. Reduced nutrients, hazardous substances and toxins inflow into the Baltic Sea

Central Baltic

01.10.2015 - 30.09.2018

€2 574 250

€2 029 057

Project Summary:

The project WATERCHAIN helps to reduce inflows of nutrients and hazardous substances to the Baltic Sea from all types of land-based sources by using pilot watersheds and environmental technology. The project tackles both highly developed intensely populated cities as well as less developed peripheral, sparsely populated rural and island regions in pilot watersheds.

The main actions are carried out in the pilot watersheds in each partner country with the practical actions targeted to sustainable impact. The sustainable use of common resources is based both on prevention of nutrients and hazardous substances inflow, as well as on water treatment of these harmful substances already entered the water bodies. During the project period, one to two sources of nutrients or hazardous substances recognized by river basin water management plans are identified and activities to reduce the substances in each pilot watershed are also initiated.

As a result of the project best practices with a common approach for sustainable development are launched in other geographical areas within the Central Baltic region and further all countries around the Baltic Sea. By year 2023, the pollution loads of nutrients and hazardous substances from targeted sources are reduced in pilot watersheds flowing into the Baltic Sea. Therefore, project results have a direct impact on the quality of living environment of local people and visitors to the area, especially on pilot watersheds.

Lead Partner

Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulu

Country: FI


Partner budget: 479.350 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 359.512 EUR ERDF

Project Partners


Country: FI


Partner budget: 288.900 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 216.675 EUR ERDF

Turun ammattikorkeakoulu

Country: FI


Partner budget: 289.800 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 217.350 EUR ERDF

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan

Country: SE


Partner budget: 374.100 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 280.575 EUR ERDF

Tallinna Tehnikaulikool

Country: EE


Partner budget: 262.375 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 223.019 EUR ERDF

Eesti Keskkonnauuringute Keskus

Country: EE


Partner budget: 238.625 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 202.831 EUR ERDF

Rīgas Tehniskā universitāte

Country: LV


Partner budget: 207.300 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 176.205 EUR ERDF

Vides Risinäjumu Instituts

Country: LV


Partner budget: 275.400 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 234.090 EUR ERDF

Ålands Vatten

Country: FI


Partner budget: 158.400 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 118.800 EUR ERDF

Achieved results

Project result in category -
Reduction of nutrients, hazardous substances and toxins inflow into the Baltic

Waterchain - prevention of nutrients inflows in the Baltic Sea

Project Waterchain tackled the prevention of water pollution by using spatial planning and source-specific cost-effective technological solutions for water treatment including both science-based ones as well as practical knowledge. The cross-border co-operation partnership set up in the framework of Waterchain project, enabled by the wide complementary expertise of Finnish (incl. Åland), Estonian, Latvian and Swedish partners within the fields of water treatment led to the successful development and implementation of several practical innovative actions to prevent and reduce nutrients and hazardous substances inflows into the Baltic Sea. The project, focused on the main local problems and considered the feedbacks of the local target groups.
The technological methods used to reduce the inflow of nutrients and hazardous substances from inland waters were implemented during the project in participating countries as pilot investments. Crucial hotspot areas for nutrient loading were identified in pilot watersheds. Reduction activities were carried out in hotspot areas by installing and implementing a small scale innovative nutrient reduction systems on the nutrients sources as pilot measures: 4 pilots in Finland and 2 in Latvia. The seventh pilot was carried out in a laboratory.
In addition, the project identified three groups of hazardous substances based on Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) Directive 39/2013/EU and Baltic Sea Action Plan: pharmaceutical residues, pesticides and perfluorinated compounds. Activities to reduce the inflows into the watershed were initiated with a pilot in Swedish and Estonian pilot watersheds.