Urban Water Agenda


Why an Urban Water Agenda 2030?

"Located at the head of the Oslo fjord and with 10 rivers and streams connecting the Oslo forest with the sea, water is at the core of Oslo’s identity. Oslo needs to step up investments in the water and sewage network in order to increase capacity, prevent leaks and secure safe drinking water. In adapting to climate change we will work to restore more waterways and improve the management of surface water. Being connected to the EU Urban Water Agenda is essential for developing Oslo’s future water policy."

Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport of the City of Oslo.

Oslo at work | Reopening and restoration of waterways

Up until the 1980s, the dominating strategy for Oslo's rivers and streams was to enclose them for practical reasons. Today, the City takes the opposite approach, actively reopening waterways to make them accessible for people, facilitate increased habitat for biodiversity and handle storm water more efficiently.

Oslo's uniqueness is, to a large extent, defined by its green and blue qualities – the prominence of vegetation in urban areas and the 10 main waterways (figure 1) running through. The main waterways also have a large number of tributaries. Up until the 1980s, the waterways were considered problematic for the sewage system and an obstacle for efficient exploitation of land. Hence large sections of waterways were put in culverts. However, pipes and culverts have predefined capacities, and with more and heavier rainfall due to climate change, urban flooding is, and will become, a larger challenge because of these predefined capacities.

The City of Oslo has decided to reopen closed rivers and streams wherever it is possible and expedient. In order to formalise and streamline the municipal cooperation regarding reopening projects, the relevant municipal agencies have, in collaboration, developed a management document that outlines the principles for reopening projects including a list of prioritised projects. The list is updated annually.

Interested in finding out more? Read more about the good practices here, or contact two of the project engineers in the Agency for Water and Wastewater Services: Olga Trubacheva  (e-mail: olga.trubachev[at]vav.oslo.kommune.no) or Magnus Olsen (e-mail: magnus.olsen[at]vav.oslo.kommune.no)

Habitat restoration developed in the waterways

Oslo's members of the UWA2030 Core Group



Magnus Olsen and Olga Trubacheva (Project engineers in the Agency for Water and Wastewater Services)

Magnus is the main representative and works primarily with long term planning of water and sanitation infrastructure. Olga also represents Oslo in the UWA2030 core group and is a project engineer in the Agency for Water and Wastewater Services.


Quick facts on Oslo

Location within country

Oslo is a fjord city with eight rivers that run through it. Approximately 300 km2 of Oslo's total land area (454 km2) is covered by protected forest areas, and just 150 km2 is regulated for urban development. 

Number of inhabitants


Main economic sectors

- Human health and social work
- Retail
- Technical services
- Public administration
- Information and communication services
- Business support activities
- Education
- Construction

Source/s of water supply

The main source of drinking water is the Maridalen Lake, which is in the forest area north of the city. The water is treated at the Oset Water Treatment Plant and supplies 90 % of the demand in Oslo.

Main utilities providing water and waste water services

Agency for Water and Wastewater Services

More information: www.oslo.kommune.no

Updated: September 2017