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Latvia is part of:
Baltic States · Europe & CIS · Northern Europe ·
Water Basins of Latvia:
Barta · Daugava-Zapadnaya Dvina · Gauja · Lielupe · Narva · Neman · Parnu · Salaca · Venta ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Riga
Neighbouring Countries Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia
Total Area 64,589 km2
  - Water 1,000 km2 (1.55%) / 155 m2/ha
  - Land 63,589 km2
Coastline 531 km
Population 2,306,988 (36 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.863 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 37.7 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $33,900 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $18,500
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 18,212 km2 (28.64%)
     - Arable 17,926 km2 (28.19%)
     - Permanent Crops 286 km2 (0.45%)
     - Irrigated 200 km2
  - Non cultivated 1,542,915 km2 (71.36%)
Average Annual RainfallD 641 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 49.9 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 0.3 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 13%
  - For Domestic Use 53%
  - For Industrial Use 33%
  - Per Capita 126 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 99%
     - Urban population 100%
     - Rural population 96%
  - Improved Sanitation 78%
     - Urban population 82%
     - Rural population 71%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

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Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Latvia has abundant water resources of various quality. Freshwater resources many times exceed the present and expected future needs in water consumption.

Ground water is traditionally used in water supply both rurally and in cities. To ensure rational use and protection of ground water, and in regard to the relevant national strategic interests, water is defined as a valuable mineral of national importance in the Law on Subsoil. The priority problems related to water resources that are mentioned in the National Environmental Protection Policy Plan are non-sustainable use and poor drinking water quality.

Depending on the physical and geographical conditions, a large part of the river discharge comes from either snow melt, groundwater or direct surface runoff. About 50-55% of the waters of the Daugava, Venta, Lielupe and Musa rivers is melted snow, while for the Gauja and Amata rivers it is 35-40%. About 10-20% of the flow of some tributaries of the Lielupe (Memele and Svete) and the Aiviekste tributary of the Daugava is fed by groundwater, while for the Daugava and Gauja rivers it is 35-40%. In the Kurzeme peninsula and in the middle uplands, direct surface runoff accounts for 40% of flow of the rivers, while in the Zemgales plain it represents 20-30%.

The country can be divided into eight river basins:

  • The Daugava basin: Its total area is 87 900 km2, of which 28% is located in Latvia. The Daugava River rises in the Russian Federation, flows through Belarus (where it is called the Western Dvina), enters Latvia in the southeast and flows northwest to the Gulf of Riga. Several tributaries enter the Daugava River inside Latvian territory, including four large ones: Ogre, Aiviekste, Dubna and Rezekne.
  • The Gauja basin: Its total area is 8 900 km2, of which 88% is situated in Latvia. The Gauja River rises in the Vidzeme upland and flows east, then turns northwest, becomes the border between Latvia and Estonia for a short distance, and then flows southwest to the Gulf of Riga.
  • The Salaca basin: It covers the north of the country, near the border with Estonia. Its total area is 3 600 km2, of which 92% is located in Latvia. The Salaca River rises in Lake Burtnieks in the north and flows west to the Gulf of Riga.
  • The Lielupe basin: Its total area is 17 600 km2, of which 50% is situated in Latvia. The Lielupe River rises in Lithuania, enters Latvia in the south and flows north to the Gulf of Riga through the most fertile regions of the country. It has many tributaries, the most important being the Memela, Jecava and Svete.
  • The Venta basin: Its total area is 11 800 km2, of which 67% is situated in Latvia. The Venta River rises in Lithuania, enters Latvia in the southwest and flows north through the Kurzeme lowland to the Baltic Sea. The Venta has many tributaries, but only one of them, the Abava River, exceeds 100 km in length.
  • The coastal basins between Latvia and the Venta: Their total area is 5 100 km2. This area includes rivers such as the Barta, Durba, Riva and Uzava, which flow to the Baltic Sea.
  • The basins within the coastal lowland, on the opposite shores of the Gulf of Riga: Their combined area is 3 800 km2. This area includes rivers such as the Irbe, Stonde, Roja, Svetupe and Vitupe.
  • The Velika basin: This basin consists of a number of smaller rivers flowing into the Velika in the Russian Federation. Its area within Latvia is 3 200 km2. The total discharge of the Velika amounts to 4.2 km3/year, of which 16% is generated within Latvia.

The total IRSWR are estimated at 16.540 km3/year, incoming surface water resources at 18.709 km3/year.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Latvia

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5 most recently updated publications on Latvia
  1. Latvia Country Profile for Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,433 views) . . Katy.norman

5 most popular publications on Latvia
  1. Latvia Country Profile for Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,433 views) . . Katy.norman

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Who is Who

People working in Latvia
  1. Silvija.kalnins ‎(4,326 views)
  2. Janis.germanis ‎(3,345 views)

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Organizations working in Latvia

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See also

External Resources

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