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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
The following institutions are involved in water resources management:
- The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MoERD) is responsible for the policy planning on water resources and sanitation, implementation and supervision of drinking water and sanitation improvement projects. It is also responsible for regional development and information and communication technologies. It ensures that natural resources are used effectively and in sustainable manner (MoERD, 2016). Amongst others, the MoERD supervises the following institutions:
- State Environmental Service (SES), which has to ensure the implementation of the legislation framework related to environmental protection and natural resources.
- Environment State Bureau (ESB), which carries out environmental impact assessment of proposed activities and planning documents.
- Nature Conservation Agency (NCA), which is responsible for the management of all protected areas in Latvia.
- The Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LEGMC), which ensures water quality and quantity monitoring, as well as data quality control and availability of these data for public, river basin management, preparation of various reports for national and international institutions, as well as calculation of flood territories.
- The Ministry of Health participates in the development of policy planning documents and legal acts. It supervises the Health Inspectorate that is responsible for the control of public drinking water supply from the water supply points to the consumer.
- The Ministry of Agriculture has, amongst others, the responsibility of water resources protection.
- The Latvia University of Agriculture carries out large-scale scientific research on irrigation and land reclamation.
- The University of Latvia in Riga conducts research on hydrology, climate, geography of water resources and in environmental sciences.
Water management in Latvia is composed of two levels: central and local management. The central government is responsible for water resources protection and development, the formulation and implementation of national water policy and national macro-management of water resources. The local government is in charge of the supervision and management of water use and sewage treatment (ASEMWater, 2016).
The final version of the River basin district management plans (RBMP) was approved by the Order of the Minister of Environment in 2010. The principal objectives of the RBMPs are to prevent deterioration in the condition of the water and to improve the surface water and groundwater quality (EC, 2012).
The Latvian government and local institutions apply charges and the polluter pays principle (PPP) to water users. There is a close relationship between charge for water and manner of fetching water as well as the purpose of water use (ASEMWater, 2016).
Foreign investments in Latvia have been very important to develop the water sector. Recently, the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) has invested Ç 5 million to upgrade wastewater treatment plants in Latvia (NEFCO, 2008).
Policies and legislation
The Law on Water Management (2002) is the main regulation in water management and protection and aims to establish a surface water and groundwater protection and management system that promotes sustainable and rational use of water resources, improves protection of water environment, ensures water protection and facilitates achievement of goals set in international agreements. The Law defines that water protection measures, their efficiency and usefulness must be controlled within river basins instead of administrative borders (MoERD, 2016).
The Law on Regulators of Public Utilities (2000) states that water supply and sewerage should be regulated by local regulators.