Integrated Urban Water Management
Many of the EU directives, strategies and action plans are targeted to secure clean water supply and sufficient water quality. The EU Water Framework Directive, the Urban Waste Water Directive and the EU Marine Strategy Directive are setting targets for all the EU member countries. However, characteristics of the Baltic Sea should result in stricter requirements for the region. HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is urging the states to adopt such requirements that are feasible especially to the Baltic Sea Region. Also, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is striving for an improved state of the Baltic Sea.
Water management of cities consists of several processes. Traditionally, waste water, storm water and water supply are managed separately. This approach does not take into account the natural urban water cycle and thus results in over-abstraction of water, pollution of water courses and failure to exploit rainwater and recycled wastewater as a source of water supply. Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) is a holistic mode of strategic planning. The concept encompasses various aspects of water management, including environmental, economic, technical, political as well as social impacts and implications.
Water supply is based on sufficient quality water that is either surface water or ground water. The challenges of urban water supply are related to each of the links of the supply process: collecting, treating and distributing water throughout the city. The management of these aspects is crucial when a city is providing an acceptable level of service to its citizens.
Water based waste of a city is collected, treated and disposed or reused. The process should not have any impact on the quality of urban life and the environment. Insufficient waste water treatment can result in health problems, pollution of water supply and degradation of the environment. Waste water treatment in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea should apply stricter treatment requirements than the others part of the Europe due to the sensitive character of the Baltic Sea.
Storm water is rain water and melted snow that runs off streets, lawns, and other sites. In urban areas, surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead storm water is directed to sewer systems. Storm water flows either to the waste water treatment plant or it is directed to rivers, lakes or artificial ponds. Storm water can cause several problems in waste water treatment plant lowering the treatment result. However, storm water includes pollutants that cause problems in receiving rivers and lakes if it is not properly treated.