Denmark to pump billions into beleaguered water environment

Improved wastewater cleaning, reducing nitrogen and phosphorus emissions and restoring lakes and waterways among the initiatives

In some shape or form, water is never far away in Denmark and over a million people live less than one kilometre from a fjord or the open sea. 

But Denmark’s water environment is in trouble. Real trouble.

Only five of 986 lakes and five of 109 coastal areas are in good ecological condition, according to the environmental protection agency, Miljøstyrelsen.

So the government is ready to pump 5.4 billion kroner into new initiatives dedicated to improving the situation.

“We need to take care of our water environment and we remain far from our goals. The water management plans are a cornerstone in the work towards improving our water environment,” said environment minister Lea Wermelin.

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 The initiatives include:

– Analysing and improving the water quality in coastal waters using newly-developed ecosystem models that calculate nutrient numbers.

– New quality indexes have been developed to include bottom-dwelling algae (Phytobenthos) when evaluating conditions of waterways.

– Bottom-dwelling algae, benthic animals, visibility depth and oxygen saturation will be included in the condition assessments of lakes.

– Groundwater condition assessments will be measured using new methods.

– Greater knowledge has been gained about, among other things, land-based emission sources relating to environmentally-hazardous pollutants.

– Measures for reducing the discharge of nutrients to coastal waters and lakes have been updated, and new knowledge about the conversion of nitrogen from land to fjords has been included.

Read more about the plans, which still need to be approved by Parliament, here (in Danish).