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Inland waterways


Detailed description of the Good Practice

Situated over 300 kilometers from the Baltic Sea, but still belonging to the Baltic Sea Region Programme, the city of Karlstad is well familiar with waterway related problems. The river Klarälven passes the city just before ending its long journey in the Vänern Lake, the third biggest lake in Europe. In the past there have been several environmental issues regarding the river and the lake, not unlike the challenges concerning the waterways of the Baltic Sea.

Inland water way

Now most of the industries around Klarälven river are marginalized and the river logging transportation stopped in 1991. Today both the river and the lake is experiencing a revitalization of its ecology, much thanks to the interests of different stakeholders, such as Karlstad and its neighboring municipalities, Karlstad University and the tourist industry. Karlstad has for a number of years expanded its environmental policies, and now holds the idiom “The Good Green City” as one of its primary guidelines. The cities environmental work is ranked by The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation as the 4th best in Sweden.

The river is still being used in for commercialized revenues, but with a wider environmental approach. One example is Karlstads participation in Waterways for growth, an Interreg project for sustainable development of inland waterways. The aim of the project is to identify and develop opportunities afforded by recreation inland water ways, such as the Klarälven river. The main idea is to realise business opportunities and accordingly provide attractive environments, both for living and working, linked together with the inland waterway.

Boat bus

Past decades, the tourism around Klarälven has seen a major increase. Rafting and fishing are main attractions, but also some more innovative- and environmental- projects related to the inland waterways, like the Klarälvbanan track – a 90 km car free cycle path following the course of Klarälven. In 2008 the city of Karlstad also launched a brand new waterway concept; boat bus. The boat bus is basically a boat carrying out standard routes like any other public transportation. The fee is the same as a regular bus ride and both tourist and commuters take advantage of this service. The routes stretch all the way from central Karlstad, to the riverdelta where Klarävlen meets the lake Vänern.

Inland waterways is a vital part of a healthy sea. Perhaps, by sharing best practice, both within the Waterways for Growth project and the Baltic Cities, the efforts and innovation of Karlstad in revitalizing it’s surrounding waters, can apply to the Baltic Sea and its related inland waterways.

water management
sustainable development
sustainable economy

Objectives of the Good Practice

to realize business opportunities and accordingly provide attractive environments, both for living and working, linked together with the inland waterway.

Participants of the Good Practice

City of Karlstad

Target group of the Good Practice

citizens, tourists

Funding of the Good Practice

City of Karlstad

More Details of the Good Practice

Available files

Contact details

Petter Falk
Karlstads kommun
City Hall
SE-651 84 Karlstad

Data sources and references

Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 2/2009