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Estonia

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Area: 5888268 km2
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Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $499,823,222.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $11,229,316.00 - [2%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $6,302,556.00 - [1%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $5,525,244.00 - [1%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $3,648,811.00 - [1%]
  • Water Scarcity: $389,813,424.00 - [78%]
  • Water Management: $83,303,870.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Estonia can be divided into five hydrological basins: the Lake Peipus-Narva basin in the east; the Gulf of Finland basin in the north; the Gulf of Riga basin, including the Salaca River, in the southwest; the Muhu Sound basin, including the Gauja River, in the southeast; and the Islands. The internal renewable surface water resources (IRSWR) are estimated at 11,712 million m3/year. A total quantity of about 96 million m3/year is estimated to flow from Latvia and the Russian Federation into Estonia, while an estimated 406 million m3/year flow from Estonia into Latvia and the Russian Federation The artificial Lake Narva in the northeast was created in 1956, when the Narva hydropower plant started operating. Its total area is 191km2, of which 38km2 are located within Estonia. Its average depth is 1.8m, its deepest point 15m. Estonia is rich in groundwater resources. The internal renewable groundwater resources are estimated at 4km3/year. The main recharge area is in the Pandivere uplands, where limestone areas and sand/gravel ridges are locally important. Generally, in southern Estonia the groundwater of the Devonian aquifer is used, while in western and sporadically in central Estonia the water of the Silurian-Ordovician horizon is used. Groundwater covers about two-thirds of the drinking water supply. Part of the groundwater flows out to the sea and part returns to the surface water system. This latter part, which is already accounted for in the runoff (overlap), has been estimated at 3km3/year. Estonia is located within a transition zone from maritime to continental climate. The active cyclonic activity of the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean makes the weather very variable, causes strong winds, high precipitation and fluctuations in temperature, and the Baltic Sea causes significant differences between the climate of coastal and inland areas. As mentioned, Estonia is very small by area, but at the same time temperatures may vary by 20°C, e.g. + 10°C on islands and -10°C in inland areas. Due to the climate conditions and latitude the average annual temperature in Estonia is only +5°C and Estonia also has a great seasonal variation in daylight. Because of that, people in Estonia need extra electricity and heating during most of the year, from September until May. Due to rather high precipitation (about 630 mm/year), the need for irrigation is much less significant than in southern European countries.

1.1.2.WATER USE In 1995, the water withdrawal for agricultural, domestic and industrial purposes was estimated at 158 million m3, of which only 5 per cent was for agricultural purposes. In addition, more than 1.2 million m3 were used for cooling in the thermal power production in the Narva region and about 172 million m3 for fisheries. For the majority of towns and settlements, groundwater is the only source of drinking and industrial water, except in the towns of Tallinn and Narva near the coast where groundwater resources are very limited. In 1995, about 88 per cent of the population had access to drinking water supply. The total quantity of wastewater produced in 1995 was 396 million m3, of which 378 million m3 was treated.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Intensive agriculture has led to an increase in nitrogen concentration in groundwater through the intensive use of fertilizers. A decline in the use of fertilizers in recent years seems to have already resulted in a decrease in the nitrogen concentration in groundwater wells. While deeper groundwater layers meet the existing drinking water standards, upper groundwater layers in many regions are still polluted with nitrogen components. Close to former military bases, groundwater is often polluted with oil products. The drastic reduction in economic activity since 1989 and the construction of new wastewater treatment plants, have already reduced pollution considerably. Municipal and industrial pointsource pollution loads in Estonian rivers have decreased significantly since 1992: organic pollution (measured as BOD), by 90 per cent, nitrogen by about 60 per cent and phosphorus by about 75 per cent. The decreases at the beginning of the 1990s were due mainly to the reduction in overall production activities. The further decreases since then are associated with the modernisation of production, construction and renovation of wastewater treatment plants, structured legislative drafting and increases in the pollution charge. The concentration of nitrogen in rivers depends mainly on the diffuse load and correlates quite well with the amount of precipitation for the year. The high nitrogen content in rivers at the beginning of 1990s was the result of intensive agriculture at the end of Soviet period. Since that time, the area of crop-land and the use of mineral fertilizers have fallen by nearly a factor of two. The number of animals, and as a result the amount of manure, have also been reduced. The average mean nitrogen content has increased, due mainly to steep increases in rivers with more considerable agricultural impact, despite these being in a minority. In the majority of Estonian rivers the increase has been quite moderate and the average nitrogen content varies around 2 mgN/l depending on hydrological conditions. Nevertheless water quality in monitored Estonian rivers is relatively good and in most rivers it has no significant negative impact on biological quality. Generally high and good status of phytobenthos, which mainly indicates the trophic level, confirms the good water quality. The main Country Overview - Estonia reason why macro-invertebrates have a moderate or poor status in one sixth of water courses is hydro-morphological alterations caused by land drainage. Organic pollution from municipal and industrial wastewater has decreased substantially and only impacts aquatic organisms in a few rivers. Compared with other biota, the status of fish populations is worse. In about 30 per cent of monitored water courses the fish status is moderate or worse. In addition to land drainage – straightening rivers, lowering water level, sediment load, etc. – the main reason for this is the number of dams. In addition to man-made constructions, beaver dams also have a substantial negative impact on fish status, in particular trout, in smaller rivers and streams. As ecological assessment using current methodology has only been carried out for the first time, no reliable trends can be demonstrated, but comparison of single indicators for macroinvertebrates and phyto-benthos indicate an improvement in their status in rivers, where water quality was the limiting factor 5-15 years ago. Regarding lakes’ water quality, the increase and intensification of agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s was the main reason for their rapid eutrophication. Due to a decline in agriculture and implementation of water protection measures in the 1990s there has been a considerable improvement, although there are departures from the general trend. In 2004-2008, the status of 79 small lakes was assessed under the national monitoring programme. Despite a general reduction in pollution loads, about 20 per cent of lakes were classified as moderate or poor. The reasons for this are various and can be divided into past factors and current pressures. For several lakes - especially for those with a slow water exchange rate – past pollution from farms or municipal wastewater discharges or lowering of water levels are still the main reasons for their moderate or poor status. Currently, construction work or other human activity changing the landscapes on the edges of lakes has, in some cases, resulted in considerable pressures

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Organizations in Estonia


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Projects in Estonia


The WaterBee Smart Irrigation Demonstration Action is the follow-on phase from the very successful FP7-SME-007-1 WaterBee “Research for SMEs” project (222440) that ended in September 2010, and very convincingly researched, developed &amp; proved the concept of the WaterBee Prototype to … Learn More

Suggested Resources

View the full list of 300+ resources at the Water Stewardship Toolbox

CAIR-CA has put together the following guide to some of the resources for workers who have been impacted by COVID-19. Learn More

With special attention to resources for utilities, this page lists relevant guidance around water and COVID-19. Learn More

Developers: American Water Works Association

This page seeks to help water sector professionals keep informed on the attributions of the COVID-19 virus and any measures needed to protect both workers and public health, in general. Learn More

In this policy brief the ILO offers comprehensive and integrated recommendations on the key areas of policy action that should form part of that response.The brief is addressed at ILO constituents (governments, employers and workers), policy-makers and the general public. Learn More

In this Nature feature, Johan Rockstrom and co-authors argue that identifying and quantifying planetary boundaries that must not be transgressed could help prevent human activities from causing unacceptable environmental change. Learn More

Inform and strengthen your company’s water management strategies and allow your investors to evaluate current water management activities against detailed definitions of leading practice. Learn More

Developers: Ceres

Nature-based solution (NBS) can improve degraded ecosystems, help sequester carbon, and manage the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events. Businesses are beginning to recognize the value of NBS for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

Developed by a group of leading beverage businesses, this is an easy-to-use excel tool for beverage facilities to estimate direct costs associated with their most water- and resource- intensive processes, beyond just the cost of water from the tap. The … Learn More

An emphasis on gaps in WASH coverage and what role institutions play in battling COVID-19. Links and other resources provided. Learn More

Plan, Prepare and Respond- Breakdown for different industries on how to operate safely. Cleaning and disinfecting, Worker Safety, Support Resources, Mitigation Strategy Learn More

This report presents analysis of the response data from a sample of 783 of the world’s largest publicly listed companies. The report is aimed at companies and investors seeking to understand how they can play their part in delivering a … Learn More

The Toolbox connects your business to the latest tools, guidance, case studies, datasets, and more most relevant to you based on your circumstances and interests. It features more than 250+ resources from dozens of organizations and is updated every week. Learn More

Developers: CEO Water Mandate, Pacific Institute

This document is intended for WASH and C4D officers at country offices working together on the Covid19 outbreak preparedness and response. The document contains guidance on reviewing existing resources and coordination mechanisms, identifying the right intervention and considerations for sustainability … Learn More

Workers in office buildings may be at risk for exposure to the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace … Learn More

How to ensure the safety of your occupants and building water system and devices Learn More

The campaigns, which target audiences at home and in schools, promote improved health and hygiene practices, such as handwashing, the importance of connecting to the water supply and sanitation system, regular payments for service continuity, and improving sanitation and menstrual … Learn More

Constantly updated database for California nonprofits. Contains Advocacy and support links, funding opportunities, Federal resources and information, announcements and resources, employee and employer resources, and resources for individuals. Learn More

Technical guidance, WASH preparedness, webinars, checklists for health facilities, self assessments, and guidance on disinfectants. Learn More

The purpose of these guidelines is to highlight additional measures so that the integrity of the food chain is maintained, and that adequate and safe food supplies are available for consumers. Learn More

Includes Immediate steps, ongoing health measures that can be taken, and responsible business practice Learn More

Based on the major combat guidelines set by the São Paulo State Government, Sabesp is fully engaged to endure COVID-19 pandemic within its operation area, which means 374 municipalities located throughout São Paulo state and home to about 28 million … Learn More

Developers: Sabesp

California and the federal government are providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19. Learn More

Checklist for restoring water quality in buildings left unused for a long duration. Learn More

Developers: EPA Office of Wastewater Management

CDC/EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Includes Printable Materials Learn More

We’re here to help you overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. We offer multiple funding options for those seeking relief. Read more below. Learn More

Best practices- Resources- Webinars on WASH/COVID-19 topics. Learn More

NBS offer a promising contribution on how to enhance the availability and quality of water for productive purposes and human consumption, while preserving ecosystems. In this discussion paper, 21 case studies of water management processes are analysed, using a non-representative … Learn More

FAO has been emphasizing the need to accelerate a global transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems, advocating an integrated approach. This document focuses on the management of water for agricultural use. Learn More

The purpose of this document is to provide ministries (e.g. Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Water (MOW)), sub-national public health authorities, and implementing partners with a practical framework of action to both prepare for and mitigate community transmission of … Learn More

This document gives advice on: 1. Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace 2. How to manage COVID-19 risks when organizing meetings &amp; events 3. Things to consider when you and your employees travel 4. Getting … Learn More

The Global Water Footprint Assessment Standard can be used to provide comparable quantification and robust analytics, helping corporations, governments, and researchers manage water resources and achieve greater water sustainability. Learn More

This guide outlines why and how investors engage on agricultural supply chain water risk. Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Committee designed this document to guide the food industry and advise its sponsoring agencies in the implementation of HACCP systems. Learn More

In this link, you will find an overview of our measures and initiatives to support the health and livelihood of employees and communities in which we operate. Our three guiding principles: Health, safety, and trust of our people Safeguard the … Learn More

Developers: Heineken

Om Prasad Gautam, Khairul Islam, and Erik Harvey discuss the importance of handwashing with soap and water in reducing the risk of infection from COVID-19 and highlight the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector can and should do in response to … Learn More

Adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, requires significant investment in natural and built water systems. These investments present a significant opportunity to support not only water, but to provide … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

To help our partners in responding to this health crisis in their countries, we have compiled different resources and tools around COVID-19 and WASH, which include documents, videos, social media materials with messages on public health, webinar recordings, etc. Learn More

Resources for the Long Beach community. Covers topics such as: Movement Strategy, Family Resource Government Resources Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

National Register Resources: Psychological resources and information. Learn More

OSHA has developed this interim guidance to help prevent worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The general guidance below applies to all U.S. workers and employers. Learn More

With private enterprises playing a critical role in contributing to the safety of their staff, it is important to change some of their core operations. This guide is meant as a stepping point to begin reopening with safety as a … Learn More

During an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current outbreak of COVID-19, small business owners must prepare for disruption in their business as well as prepare to protect their employees’ health and safety in the workplace. These steps are recommended … Learn More

Guidelines for supply chain workplaces to reopen with a robust WASH plan of action. Learn More

This report shows how putting nature to work can help deliver infrastructure services with greater impact and lower cost, all the while reducing risks from disaster, boosting water security and enhancing climate resilience. Learn More

The Coca-Cola Company is quantifying the water-related “Replenish” benefits derived through its Community Water Partnership (CWP) projects. The work described in this report builds on previous efforts, and provides a current status of quantification results for three categories of CWP … Learn More

Developers: Global Environment Technology Foundation (GETF), The Coca-Cola Company

Questions\ guidelines relating to food businesses answered by the WHO. Learn More

This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

SAVEh is the platform through which Ambev shares its water management system free of charge with other companies, which has helped to reduce more than 40% of the company’s water consumption in the last 13 years. This water efficiency tool … Learn More

Developers: Ambev S/A

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Compass Business Tools inventory maps existing business tools against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It allows you to explore commonly used business tools that may be useful when assessing your organization’s impact on the SDGs. Learn More

The Colorado River Basin states face significant water challenges, including the overallocation of water, long-term drought, and climate change. This report, commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation, explores the potential for corporate water stewardship to help solve these challenges. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The City of Austin, Texas is facing an increasingly uncertain water future, from decreasing water supplies and more intense droughts to periodic flooding and water quality impairments. Austin is addressing these challenges head on, from investments in water efficiency and … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The world’s water resources are under increasing pressure from rising water consumption, pollution, and climate variability. The variety of water challenges companies face, from water governance issues to extreme events like drought, manifest in the river basins where the companies … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

This report is a call to action, for the immediate health response required to suppress transmission of the virus to end the pandemic, and to tackle the many social and economic dimensions of this crisis. It is, above all, a … Learn More

The Soil &amp; Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a small watershed to river basin-scale model used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface and ground water and predict the environmental impact of land use, land management practices and climate … Learn More

In response to the challenge of quantifying the business benefits, WaterAid, Diageo, GAP Inc., and Unilever have worked with PwC and ODI to develop a practical, step-by-step guide. The guide will help companies understand the business value of their WASH … Learn More

Developers: WaterAid

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. The standard is complemented by a set of 12 quantitative performance indicators. By identifying “hotspots,” the indicators enable users to monitor … Learn More

The Forest Stewardship Council created the Principles of Forest Stewardship as a worldwide standard to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Learn More

The AWS Standard is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. Learn More

Developers: Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

This paper provides examples of how to make progress in service delivery in and beyond the workplace. With private enterprises playing a critical role in contributing to the safety of their staff, it is important to change some of their … Learn More

This tool is an interactive map linking nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation outcomes based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

A deep dive into three areas for business action:1 Responsible Marketing 2 Accelerating Collaborative Action at the Country Level 3 Building Resilience and Good Practice Solutions for Business Learn More

This report explores the possibilities of scaling a circular economy, given the reality of the global economy and the complexity of multi-tier supply chains. Learn More

Developers: World Economic Forum

This page brings together water and sanitation-related information from UN-Water Members and Partners in the light of the coronavirus global emergency. UN-Water is working to ensure the most up-to-date information, resources, and guidance as they become available. Learn More

As the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nations Global Compact is calling on business leaders everywhere to unite to support workers, communities, and companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A coordinated international plan involving the business sector will … Learn More

Water is the lifeblood of California, providing for the household needs of 40 million people and supporting one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, various commercial and industrial activities, and the health and viability of the state’s … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

New figures from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) indicate that WASH services in health care facilities are sub-standard in every region. Learn More

Developers: UNICEF The United Nations Children's Fund

ILO Sectoral Policies and Governance and Tripartism Departments present four self-training modules, which adapt existing ILO training tools on OSH to provide governments, workers and employers with the necessary skills to implement the general principles contained in relevant ILO instruments. … Learn More

Companies are increasingly setting and pursing ‘water balance targets’ as part of their water stewardship strategies. The seeming simplicity of balance goals can be attractive – “we will restore a volume of water equal to the amount our business consumes.” … Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Water Risk Filter can be used to assess and respond to water related risks for your own operations, suppliers, or growth plans. Learn More

Developers: WWF

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and rebuild our economies during and after the pandemic, collective action on water is essential. Such action can help not only to contain the virus, but also to realize the human right … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Learn More

CTCN; UNEP Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Water Witness International; WaterAid; WBCSD Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UNEP Learn More

IPIECA Learn More

Ceres Learn More

Ecolab Learn More

PRI; WWF Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Pegasys; Water Witness International; WWF Learn More

The World Bank Learn More

UNEP-DHI Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UN Water Learn More

OECD Learn More

UNICEF; WHO Learn More

River Threat Netwrok Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; WWF Learn More

Swedish Textile Water Initiative Learn More

Alliance for Water Stewardship Learn More

WaterAid Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

McKinsey Learn More

Toilet Board Coalition Learn More

Conservation International Learn More

U.S. General Services Administration Learn More

National Drought Mitigation Center Learn More

UNEP Learn More

USGS Learn More

UN Water Learn More

AT&T; EDF; Global Environmental Management Institute (GEMI) Learn More

OECD Learn More

SAI Platform Learn More

Leonardo Rodriguez
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