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Examining water using a net

Cumulative Pressures

We live on a blue planet, but despite huge areas of ocean, the water and everything that lives in it is exposed to considerable pressure. To reduce the pressure, we need to understand and manage the effects of the many influences, individually and collectively. 

More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, and water provides the basis for all life on our planet. Water gives us drink, food, and oxygen. It determines the weather, regulates the climate on earth, and is the home of enormous amounts of plants and animals. 

The ecosystems in water, biodiversity and water quality are, however, under significant influence from human activity. There is reason to believe that the pressure will increase in the future: Population growth, greenhouse gas emissions, urbanization, land encroachment, shipping, industry and agriculture are all factors that, individually - or in combination – has a negative effect. Nutrient salts and organic matter are transported from land to sea, and various environmental toxins are added to lakes, rivers, and seas, from land-based and sea-based sources. We need more knowledge to foresee what all these influences will lead to. 

The water directive of the European Union lays down guidelines for the management of the water areas along the Norwegian coast. It is one of the Union's most comprehensive environmental directives. The purpose is to protect and ensure the sustainable use of all water bodies on land and along the coast (fresh water, brackish water, salt water and groundwater). 

This is how NIVA can contribute 

Our experts know a lot about how various man-made stress factors individually and collectively affect ecosystems and water quality. We can map and identify pollution problems and sources, assess environmental risks, prepare action plans, develop risk-reducing or mitigating solutions and monitor the effect of measures that have been implemented. 

We can restore water bodies, for example by liming water to stop acidification, combat Gyrodactylus salaris in infected salmon rivers, contribute to the clean-up of polluted seabeds or restore nature to recreate biodiversity. 

We offer many types of monitoring, and we develop various measures and solutions to limit impacts from land-based and sea-based industries. We work on municipal sewage and storm water from cities, roads and other dense surfaces. We can map and model inputs of various substances to sewage and stormwater systems, and we develop nature-based solutions for managing stormwater. 

Why does NIVA work with overall environmental impact? 

The pressure on water bodies is a complex environmental challenge that requires interdisciplinary research and solutions. At NIVA, we have the broad water expertise that enables us to identify the consequences for nature and society. 

In many projects, we combine expertise from various disciplines. Our research results are used in national and international monitoring programmes, in management plans, and in the development process towards international environmental conventions. 

Get in touch if you want to know more about how we can contribute to solving challenges related to this topic. 

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