The joint Estonian-Russian Joint Transboundary Water Commission agreed at its 20th meeting earlier this week on directions of work to see to the protection and sustainable management of the bodies of water shared by the two countries in the coming years.
In addition, the joint commission also found that the condition of the hydrographic basin of the Narva River has improved.
During the meeting held in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the two parties exchanged information regarding the condition of the Narva River and Lakes Peipus, Lämmijärv and Pskov, as well as the condition of the hydrotechnical facilities of the hydroelectric power plant in Narva, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of the Environment said.
It was agreed that the two parties will continue their present cooperation, including in the monitoring of floating islands and the prompt exchange of information abuot changes in the locations of such islands on the Narva River.
The parties will also continue the monitoring of surface and groundwater, including the transboundary Voronka groundwater layer, from which the Estonian towns of Sillamäe and Narva-Jõesuu draw their drinking water. It is necessary to ensure that this groundwater layer is not subjected to excessive pumping, ministry spokespeople said.
Condition of transboundary Estonian-Russian water bodies continues to improve
Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment Andres Talijärv, who also heads the commission's Estonian delegation, said that as a result of cooperation between the two countries and application of measures, the condition of the border lakes and Narva River have remained stable with a trend toward improvement for the past 20 years.
"Within the past ten years, pollution of the Narva River hydrographic basin has decreased by 29 percent when it comes to nitrogen and by as much as 44 percent when it comes to phosphorus," Talijärv highlighted. "The reduction in pollution in rivers has led to a significant reduction in pollution in Lake Peipus as well."
In addition, measures have been taken to ensure the passage of fish in the rivers that feed Lake Peipus, and spawning grounds have been restored and cared for.
Like Estonia, Russia has also undertaken efforts to preserve and improve the condition of Lake Peipus, with measures taken in the towns of Pskov, Gdov and Pechory.
The Estonian-Russian agreement on the protection and sustainable use of transboundary bodies of water was signed 20 years ago, on Aug. 20, 1997. Based on this agreement, cooperation is ongoing both on the expert and joint commission levels.
The next meeting of the joint commission will be held in Estonia in the third quarter of 2018.
Editor: Aili Vahtla