About the water authorities

The assignment of the water authorities is to implement the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Clean water in Sweden is often taken for granted, something that is abundant and maintains high quality. Access to clean water requires joint and extensive work both inside and outside Sweden.

Sweden is divided into five different water districts, based on the borders of the ma­jor sea basins and catchment areas, which means that the 21 counties and 290 muni­cipalities can be a part of more than one district.

In each water district one of the county administrative boards is appointed by the government to act as water district authority:

  • The County Administrative Board of Norrbotten is the Water Authority of the Bothnian Bay Water District
  • The County Administrative Board of Västernorrland is the Water Authority of the Bothnian Sea Water District
  • The County Administrative Board of Västmanland is the Water Authority of the North Baltic Sea Water District
  • The County Administrative Board of Kalmar is the Water Authority of the South Baltic Sea Water District
  • The County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland is the Water Authority in the Skagerrak and Kattegat Water District.

Each water district authority has an office which prepares cases for the water delegation, coordinates the county administrative boards producing documentation, and collaborates with affected parties at all levels from local to international level.

Water delegations decide

For every water district authority there is a special water district board – the water delegation. Their task is deciding on environmental quality standards, programme of measures and management plans.

The delegation comprises expert members appointed by the government for a fixed term. The members each have a personal mandate based on their expertise in different areas, hence they are not representatives of the organisations by which they are employed.

The delegation is chaired by the county governor at the county administrative board that constitutes the water district authority.

What the water authorities do

The water authorities manage the quality of the aquatic environment within each water district. Among other things, this means that the water authorities

  • Prepares management plan and action program for the water district
  • Decides on environmental quality standards
  • Coordinates water management work on county boards and municipalities in the district
  • Collaborates nationally, regionally and locally with other interested parties who work in various ways on water issues
  • Monitors how other countries in the European Union work on different issues under the Water Framework Directive and exchange knowledge and experience
  • Submits information to the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Authority for further reporting to the European Commission.