Är kraven enligt EU:s vattendirektiv rimliga? – en fallstudie av Vegeåns vattendrag / Are the criteria defined for the EU Water framework directive in Sweden reasonable? – a case study from river Vegeå
River Vegeå drains parts of the agricultural lands in Southern Sweden. A preliminary characterisation of the water in Vegeå has been made using the guidelines developed in accordance with the Water Framework Directive.
The work indicates that the guidelines are difficult to apply due to lack of data, which may cause a risk that the characterisation process becomes subjective. The preliminary assessment shows that large parts of Vegeå will be categorised to have insufficient status. The main reason is nutrient loads from agricultural, industrial and municipal activities. Calculations indicate that in order to reach good ecological status the nutrient leakage must decrease with 70–90 %. Successful wetland projects have reduced the nitrogen load to the sea with
1–2 %. Other protective measures, such as reduced use of fertilisers and non-cultivated riparian zones, have been applied. All municipal and industrial treatment plants have been upgraded. Because of these measures the
conditions of the river have greatly improved during the past decades. Despite this and that more protective measures can be implemented, the conclusion is that it will be impossible to reach good ecological status in Vegeå in accordance with the time frame of the directive. It is therefore justified to ask if the guidelines and criteria defined for the Water Framework Directive in Sweden are reasonable.