The Rönne å catchment with its municipalities and two subcatchments managed by two different water councils. Source: Romina Martin, SRC

More data and results from the case study are available on the AQUACROSS Information Platform

Rönne å catchment area is a river watershed located in Southern Sweden and includes lakes (e.g. Ringsjön), rivers (Rönne å) and marine coastal areas (Kattegatt). Institutions in Swedish water governance is complex with multiple actors and frameworks on all scales: local (water councils, municipalities), regional (county administrative boards, water authorities), national (Swedish jurisdiction) and EU (water framework directive). This calls for knowledge about social-ecological complexity, best-practice water governance, and how cross-sector collaboration (or lack thereof) might influence environmental problems and essential ESS. In particular, Case Study 6 looks at the process of eutrophication and restoration of good water quality and their implications for the provision of ecosystem services along the Rönne å catchment.

Freshwater is the bloodstream of the biosphere and provides ecosystem services that are essential for human-being (Folke, 2003). However, mismanagement has previously caused trade-offs in ecosystem services with distinguished winners and losers (Hower et al., 2014), which highlights the importance of a sustainable and holistic governance to ensure the resilience of ecosystem services.

Institutional and governance challenges are a particular issue in the Rönne catchment, site of Case Study 6. When implementing the WFD, Sweden introduced water councils in the catchments. However, the legal role / structure of water councils differs between catchments. Whereas in a neighbouring catchment (KRC), cooperation between the municipalities and councils was settled with a contract, this is lacking for the Rönne Å catchment. Additionally, water council participants (the most local institution for the WFD) often lack a legal mandate to foster decisions and restoration activities, which limits decisions and implementation. To combat these issues, there are discussions and conflicting opinions if two water councils in the catchment should potentially merge: RRC - Rönne Å River Council and the council for Lake Ringsjön. This might extend the comparatively strong restoration activities around the lake to the whole catchment where those activities where less prominent in the past.

Case Study 6 is based on the science of Social-Ecological Systems and the resilience principles. Through stakeholder engagement and workshops, it considers options to improve the governance of the Rönne catchment. These workshops and stakeholder groups also consider management options to improve local water quality and ecosystem service provision. They include management of the turbid lake Ringsjön through biomanipulation and municipal sewage plans to decrease eutrophication from private sewage treatment. Changing the dynamics in lake Ringjsön through biomanipulation will have benefits for recreational fishing and tourism stakeholders in the future, but is very costly for the adjacent municipalities now. Upgrading private sewage systems is very costly for house owners and the benefits therefrom are difficult to visualize. The Case Study also aims to collaborate with stakeholders to identify win-win solutions or to reconcile perceived trade-offs.


Lake Ringsjön - Rönne å Catchment in Kattegat — Sweden

Lead partner organisation: 

Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre (SU-SRC) is the lead research partner for Case Study 6.

Cooperating Institution & Representative: 

Höörs Kommun, the Municipality of Höör, is cooperating with AQUACROSS for Case Study Six: Understanding eutrophication processes and restoring good water quality in Lake Ringsjön, Sweden. The Municipality if Höör is located in southern Sweden. It has general council and municipal responsibilities in the region, including environmental planning and protection. Given the number of lakes and rivers in the area that have been affected by agricultural runoff and other causes of eutrophication, it has developed considerable expertise investigating management solutions to these challenges.

The Municipality of Höör and case study six are represented on the SPBTT by Håkan Bergknut.

Find out more about this case study:

Understanding eutrophication processes and restoring good water quality in Lake Ringsjön - Rönne å Catchment in Kattegat, Sweden