Jump to main content

Smarter water management in agricultural landscapes

The objective of Waterdrive is to implement new and smarter water management practices in agricultural landscapes. This will be achieved through innovative means of collaboration across sectors in a development context of high ecosystem productivity, resource efficient growth and risk management. Local authorities, farming communities, agricultural advisory services and other water- and land managers are the main target groups. Activities involves Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Russia.


In the Waterdrive project (2019-2021) solutions for integrated and sustainable water management in the agricultural landscape are explored. Cross-sectorial collaboration and partners from all countries around the Baltic Sea enhance effective exchange of experiences.

Waterdrive logotype.

The Catalogue

Water and nutrients are transported from the fields through drainage systems and out to the stream. To have a landscape perspective is crucial in water management. Many types of measures all together make the difference.

Measures from field to water course. Principle.

Many aspects on measures

Water management measures in the agricultural landscape are central in the progress to reach sustainable development goals. Knowledge on functionality and effectiveness under various local conditions is needed for cost-effective localisation.

Aspects on measures. Principle.

The catalogue of measures

  • Buffer zones along waters

    Buffer zone. Photo. Buffer zones (BZs) between pollutant source area and receiving waters is a supplementary measure to prevent runoff of sediments, nutrients and other pollutants.
  • Constructed wetlands

    Constructed wetland. Photo. Constructed wetlands (CWs) reduce agricultural water pollution and complement the water protection measures made in the fields. Locally, CWs can significantly improve the status of waters, as they prevent the transport of nutrients and solids into the recipient waterbodies.
  • Controlled drainage

    Control well for water level. Photo. Controlled drainage is a form of subsurface drainage, where the groundwater level is regulated with damming devices. When water is recharged it is called sub-irrigation. The measure can reduce greenhouse gas emission from organic soils and acid discharge from acid sulphate soils.
  • Floodplains

    Flooded land along river. Floodplains have been quite common in the past. Constructions and intensive measures in agriculture and forestry have reduced their number. Restoration of floodplains and re-connection to the river aims to increase the retention capacity and ecosystem functioning. Floodplains can be natural or man-made.
  • Gypsum as soil amendment

    Spreading of gypsum. Photo. Application of gypsum in agricultural soils is a common water protection measure in Finland for reducing phosphorus losses and erosion in clayey fields.
  • Nutrient application planning

    Poultry. Photo. Well-planned use and distribution of manure decreases the risk for negative impact on waters. Tools for planning of nutrient use and fertilisation gives benefit for both the farmer and the environment.
  • Rehabilitation of land reclamation facilities

    Ditch cleaning in Russia. Photo. Land reclamation is the process of creating new land for agricultural production. For example by drainage of lakes and flood plains. Renovation and development of these reclamation facilities is extremely relevant for the Kaliningrad region.
  • Renovation of drainage systems

    Drainage culvert outlet. Photo. Drainage systems in agricultural land are implemented to secure optimal water balance in the soil for agricultural production. To keep the function of the drainage systems over time, maintenance and renovation is required.
  • Structural liming

    Two tractors on a field. Photo. Structural liming of clay soils gives benefits both for waters and for the farmer. A soil with good structure is easier to cultivate and may also increase productivity due to better water and nutrient retention capacity.
  • Subsurface constructed wetlands

    Subsurface constructed wetland. Photo. A subsurface flow constructed wetland consist of a trench lined with clay or other impermeable layer. The trench is filled with gravel or sand which is covered with vegetation. Water that flows through the filter bed is filtrated mechanically and treated by microbiological processes.
  • Subsurface manure application

    Photo of subsurface application of manure. In-furrow subsoil application of liquid manure is a measure that reduces emissions of ammonia from manure by reducing the time of contact to the open air. The measure also reduces the risk for surface runoff of the manure.
  • Two-stage ditches

    Excavation of two-stage ditch A two-stage ditch is wider than a traditional agricultural ditch. Flood plains adjacent to a base flow channel are allowed to be flooded at high flow events. This reduces the risk for erosion in the stream banks and for flooding in down stream  areas.
Published: 20 June 2024 - Page editor: katarina.kyllmar@slu.se

ISO 14001_En.png

The Department of Soil and Environment is environmentally certified.

Contacts at the Department of Soil and Environment

Head of Department: Johan Stendahl, 018-67 38 01 
Deputy Head of Department: Mattias Lundblad, 018-67 22 26
Administrative Manager: Britta Lästh, 018- 67 25 56
Communications Officer: Elin Wärm, 018-67 26 94

Mailing address: Department of Soil and Environment, Box 7014, 750 07  Uppsala, Sweden

Billing address: SLU Fakturamottagning, Box 7090, 750 07  Uppsala, Sweden

Visit us