BSR WATER - Platform on Integrated Water Cooperation

BSR WATER brings together partners representing diverse projects that have generated through transnational cooperation many replicable as well as unique outputs, covering broad variety of water-related issues: smart nutrient management and sludge handling, storm water management, domestic and industrial waste water treatment, manure management and energy efficiency.

Project description

In the platform setting, collecting good practices, solutions, tools and expertise enables expansion beyond the subject of a single project or country and provides better reach to the source and availability of the experts that have been first hand involved in piloting, developing and testing solutions applicable in the whole Baltic Sea Region.

Moreover, platform facilitates development of policy recommendations based on the common experiences of participating projects, which has great transnational value, as such recommendations will be coherent and unified in their approach and based on sound practical results of cross-border cooperation work. This in turns enables the long-term development of aligned marco-regional and national environmental policies further promoting implementation of advanced water protection measures resulting in clean and resilient Baltic Sea Region.

Project partners

The goal of the core partnership is to bring together organisations with strong content expertise in water related issues that have it in their interest to benefit from intensified cross-sectoral and macro-regional cooperation in the field. This includes following organisations:

As a project platform, BSR WATER involves a variety of water-related projects: Interactive Water Management (IWAMA), Advanced manure standards for sustainable nutrient management and reduced emissions (ManureStandards), Water emissions and their reduction in village communities (VillageWaters), Better Efficiency for Industrial Sewage Treatment (BEST), Integrated Storm Water Management (iWater), Reviving Baltic Resilience (RBR), Climate Proof Living Environment (CliPLivE) funded from Interreg BSR, Interreg Central Baltic and South Baltic Programmes, and South East Finland-Russia ENPI.

Check Baltic Smart Water Hub for smart water solutions!


  • Collect and synthesise good practices, solutions and expertise on water management

Recent water-related projects around the Baltic Sea Region have been developing, testing and piloting many good practices and solutions, which could benefit the region, but stakeholders looking to access and utilize these solutions often require a better managed and harmonized way of reaching them. BSR WATER aims to gather and publish these project outputs in a form of developed tools, tested good practices and technical solutions.

  • Reach out and engage users into the platform cooperation

Synthesized good practices, solutions and expertise will be promoted further in the region.

  • Facilitate the regional policy dialog on sustainable water management

The regional dialog on promotion of sustainable solutions in waste- and storm water management will be facilitated to enhance utilization of nutrients and other valuable components contained by wastewater and sludge, contributing to prevention of the contaminants release into environment.


Safe nutrient recycling: strategies and practices

The future is circular, that much is certain. With nutrient recycling, we open up a large field of opportunities (and inevitable challenges). Nutrients are vital for our society, but the widespread use of fertilisers has caused one of the major problems in BSR: eutrophication. On the level of the wastewater treatment, as one of the main point sources of phosphorus entering the environment, advance measures have been taken over the last decades to reduce the nutrients input into the Baltic Sea. But where does the phosphorus come from to the European market in the first place? It is largely imported from countries outside of the EU, with only limited raw availability locally. All in all, phosphorus is essential to the food security in Europe – but it should be treated more sustainably, and a circular approach needs to be introduced, as to any limited resource.

The publication “Palette of Solutions for Nutrient Recycling in the Baltic Sea Region” was developed in BSR WATER by the University of Tartu jointly with HELCOM and consequently published by HELCOM as an input into the developing Regional Nutrient Recycling Strategy. This document explores feasible solutions for nutrients and phosphorus recovery primarily from wastewater and sludge, for their possible future reuse.

Some practical examples on nutrient recovery from Finland, Germany and the Netherlands can be found in the Baltic Smart Water Hub:

Circular cooperation model for the water cycle

And what about the circular cooperation along the wider water cycle? BSR WATER dived into this subject as well, looking into the complex cross-sectoral cooperation and considered necessary factors influencing Water-Sludge-Energy nexus. This work was based on cases collected from the different water projects and supplied by established expert network. The result includes guidelines for a cooperation model among main stakeholders dealing with water, wastewater, energy, sludge and biogas production.

The publication “Guidelines on integrated model for Water-Sludge-Energy cooperation” was developed by the University of Tartu to outline possible points of cooperation for the wastewater treatment plants – incoming and outgoing, with the first being about different streams of materials coming into the WWTP and the second about resources or energy that can be produced within the WWTP or even transported out. Each point of cooperation is outlined with a description of the recommendation, potential financial balance of the recommendation and examples of the actions. Incoming points of cooperation also include an overview of different important parameters and potential overall effects to the WWTP, to help the stakeholders in making informed decisions.

Examples from the cooperation model opportunities can be located in the Baltic Smart Water Hub:

Sustainable stormwater management in BSR cities

Increased and heavier rainfalls affecting the Baltic Sea Region due to the climate change have their strongest impact on the densely built urban areas. The need to adapt cities to the climate change risks and challenges is clear – and so the BSR WATER platform explored this theme based on its involved projects, as well as through exchanging experiences among project partners, EU and Russian regional stakeholders and UBC Member Cities.

The resulting publication “Regional and national policy recommendations for implementing the integrated stormwater management in the Baltic Sea Region” was prepared by the Riga City Council after a set of surveys and interviews with 25 BSR cities to establish local and national regulation specifics and learn about the applied management approaches. Many of the cities were UBC Member Cities – known forerunners in the Baltic Sea Region! The publication provides recommendations for cities to apply, based on the overarching idea of the importance of taking up the Integrated Stormwater Management (ISWM) approach.

In fact, ISWM is no longer just one concept among many others – throughout the platform duration, the project partner HELCOM launched the process of revising the Recommendation 23/5 on Reduction of discharges from urban areas by proper management of storm water systems. Originally adopted in 2002, the updated recommendation was greatly supplied with the experiences synthesised in the BSR WATER consortium.

As of 4 June 2021, the recommendation for storm water planning states that ISWM should be applied in future urban development processes at all levels. Instead of a narrow focus on a single problem, ISWM enables a holistic stormwater management approach: studying the characteristics of specific cites and areas, understanding the relevant impacts, and tailoring a comprehensive array of tools to individual situation.

Such tools – as well as good practices, solutions and innovations – can be found in the Baltic Smart Water Hub, portal developed in BSR WATER. Launched and supported by the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission, the portal is also a useful tool for our Member Cities to exchange with the peers from other countries. Browse examples from around the Baltic Sea Region!


The platform project is funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020, with the financial support of the Russian Federation.