Water is essential for sustaining life. We have a great deal of clean water in Norway, but not all our water is of equally good quality.
These are the main reasons for poor water quality:
- pollution such as acid rain, the excessive use of fertilisers and the spreading of environmental contaminants
- alterations to the physical environment such as the regulation of water courses, the building of obstacles such as roads and railways, and trench work and other measures that force water to flow into channels
- biological impacts such as the introduction of non-native fish species, escapes of farmed fish and salmon lice
Working together to manage water resources
Water flows wherever it wants to. Most water sources extend over several municipalities or counties. Some are even shared with Norway's neighbouring countries. This means that water management has to be undertaken in collaboration with local, regional and central government authorities. We also work with Norway's neighbours – Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Norway is divided into 11 regions for water management purposes. One county council in each region is designated as the regional water authority. Regional water management plans, which will include specific measures, are scheduled for adoption in 2015. These plans will form part of the implementation of the EU's Water Framework Directive.
The role of the County Governor
The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the implementation of the EU's Framework Water Directive. The County Governor represents the Ministry of the Environment at a regional level and has an obligation to
- collate data about the status of water resources and provide an assessment of their environmental status
- monitor and identify problems
- function as adviser to other public authorities involved in water management
Water may be affected by many different factors. Our interest in having supplies of clean water, both now and in the future, must accordingly be taken into account in all decision-making processes.