River basin district characteristics

The five river basin districts in Sweden are the Bothnian Bay, the Bothnian Sea, the North Baltic, the South Baltic and Skagerrak and Kattegat.

The five river basin districts of Sweden are of varying size and characteristic. The size of the river basin district, its geographical location, population, prevalence of industries and land use within the district are some of the factors that affect the water load. For example, in densely populated areas, the load from surface water becomes more significant. Likewise, leaching from agriculture is of greater importance in the southern river basin districts whereas leaching from other land, such as mire land, mountain land and open, unforested areas is more relevant in the north.

The Bothnian Bay river basin district is the northernmost river basin district in Sweden and encompasses all of the county of Norrbotten and most of the county of Västerbotten. The river basin district is geographically the largest one while it has the smallest population. There is about 42 000 lakes within the district and the coast encompasses closer to 7000 islands. The basic industry is important in the district.

The Bothnian Sea river basin district is located in the middle of Sweden and makes up 31 % of the Swedish land surface. About a third of the countries lakes and watercourses are located within the district. The mining and metal industries are important within the district.

The North Baltic is geographically the smallest river basin district in Sweden, but houses the largest population: 2.9 million inhabitants.

The South Baltic consists of 10 counties, 91 municipalities and 2.2 million residents.

Skagerrak and Kattegat river basin district is the westernmost river basin district in Sweden. The district encompasses 772 lakes and 1671 watercourses and has a very varied nature and land types.

The map of the five river basin districts in Sweden and further information can be found on the websites of the water authorities.