Waterdrive Team in Estonia is focusing on Nitrate Vulnerable Zone
The pilot case for Estonia is the analysis of the governance and implementation of the Nitrate
Vulnerable Zone (NVZ). This a karst-area in the central part of the country extending over 3260 km 2
and 10 municipalities. The controversy lies in the fact that NVZ holds the best soils in the whole
country on one hand and that the groundwater is unprotected and vulnerability to nutrients on the
SEI Tallinn as the Waterdrive partner has established a task force to understand the water and
climate-related issues in NVZ and to co-create activities that improve the groundwater quality and
support the carbon capturing. Representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Rural
Affairs, Environmental Board, Agricultural Board, Environmental Inspectorate, Farmers Chamber of
Commerce, Farmers Association are members of the task force. The task force holds regular
meetings to discuss the implementation of NVZ action plan, but these meetings are also good
platforms for communicating the Waterdrive activities across the partnership.
SEI Tallinn has analyzed the governance of the NVZ and the action plan. Together with researchers of
Tartu University and the Agricultural Research Centre the dynamics of carbon storage in the NVZ
soils are studied to understand the long-term impacts of agricultural practices on soil fertility.
SEI Tallinn together with the members of the Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs monitor the
development of agri-environmental measures for the CAP 2021-2027 and provides
recommendations for improvement.
Kaja Peterson, Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI Tallinn