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River Basin Management Planning at District level in Norway

The Water Regulation divides Norway into  17 River Basin Districts (RBDs) , with 6 of them sharing water courses with Sweden and Finland to the East. 

A total of 6 of the RBDs are purely Norwegian, and 5 of the IRBDs are mainly Norwegian . In Norwegian the RBDs are referred to as vannregioner. Selected County Councils are appointed as Competent Authorities for their respective River Basin Districts, some of which cover several counties. In Norwegian the Competent Authorities are referred to as vannregionmyndigheter.

In each River Basin District, the Competent Authority chairs a District Water Board, ensuring the participation and sector integration of all municipal and district authorities. In Norwegian the District Water Boards are referred to as vannregionutvalg.

Participants in the RBD Water Board are typically:

  • The County Council (in some cases several)
  • The local Municipalities
  • The County Governor’s Office: Department of Environment and Department of Agriculture
  • District offices of: the Water Resources and Energy Directorate, the Directorate for Fisheries, the Coastal Administration, the Public Roads Administration, the Food Safety Authority etc.

Each District Water Board also has a District Reference Group providing for the public participation of industry associations, NGOs and civil society in general.

Local level (sub-districts)
For administrative purposes, the close to 30.000 waterbodies in Norway have been grouped into 105 sub-districts. In Norwegian these sub-districts are referred to as vannområder. The majority of these sub-districts involve more than one municipality. All relevant authorities and stakeholders are invited into the local Water Boards at sub-district level. In Norwegian these local Water Boards are referred to as vannområdeutvalg.

This structure aims to facilitate a participatory and effective collection of knowledge, as well as to give the possibility to generate creative suggestions for new measures at the local level. In some of the sub-districts, the authorities involved will join efforts to hire a dedicated project leader to be in charge of  the collection of data, knowledge and suggestions from all stakeholders. The local Water Boards will contribute with information from their respective sub-district into the RBD planning process, and this will create a knowledge base with high level of local support.

Participation in the River Basin Management planning

The preparation of the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) and Program of Measures (PoM) is a collaborative exercise in the District Water Board, chaired by the Competent Authority. This involvement of all sector authorities in the whole process of characterization, classification, setting of objectives and prioritizing is intended to facilitate increasing sector integration, allowing for the final RBMP to be a product that has the backing of the whole District Water Board.

Each District Water Board also has a District Reference Group providing for the public participation of industry associations, NGOs and civil society in general. Public consultation of important documents during the process also ensures the information and allows for the participation of the general public:

1.      Initial consultation on the Work Program.

2.      Mid-term consultation on the Significant Water Management Issues.

3.      Final consultation on the draft River Basin Management Plan.

The consultations are made in line with the requirements of both the Norwegian Planning and Building Act, and the Water Framework Directive.

Publisert: 10. februar 2011 Sist oppdatert: 24. juni 2015