While the agriculture and mining extractive industries are important sectors for the economy of Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) areas, their activities cause significant risk to the vulnerable environment through water and land pollution. Nutrients in agricultural runoff are one of the major contributors to eutrophication and algae blooms. Ammonium nitrate based explosives used in mining operations often result in nitrogen leachate via runoff. Global climate change will increase the frequency of floods and water runoff volumes in NPA areas, increasing yet further the potential for pollution. The expertise in water runoff management in the NPA region is scattered and unequally distributed and needs to be strengthened in order to ensure continuous economic growth while protecting natural resources. The tight water quality targets set by the Water Framework Directive will require new and more comprehensive tools to prepare regional and local authorities and local communities for current and future challenges. Given the lack of expertise, interdisciplinary and international collaboration is essential to enable knowledge transfer and stimulate innovation in good management practices.
The overall goal of WaterPro is to develop eco-efficient tools and models for good water quality management and protection for the Northern Periphery sparsely populated area. This will be done through development of a toolbox of good management practices and a communication platform for the agricultural and mining extraction industries. In addition, several innovative, low cost practices will be implemented in actual pilot sites and their treatment and cost-efficiency evaluated. WaterPro will also enhance the preparedness of responsible authorities and local resource users to protect water quality, human health, ecosystems and stimulate economic growth and development.
The WaterPro Project has two aims:
1) Provide more eco efficient runoff management systems in the Northern Periphery Area in anticipation of the effects of climate change.
2) Provide a faster transfer of knowledge and develop wider cooperation within the Northern Periphery Area and improve runoff management systems and techniques.
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