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Main facts about Lielupe River basin

The river Lielupe basin is one of the three transboundary river basin districts shared between Latvia and Lithuania.

  • River basin district of Lielupe is the whole area from where the River Lielupe is receiving surface and underground waters via rivers, brooks, and springs and even from the land surface as direct runoff after precipitation.
  • The river Lielupe itself is originating at the confluence of the river Mūsa (or Mūša in Lithuanian) and the river Mēmele (or Nemunelis in Lithuanian) in Bauska city in Latvia.
  • The total area of the river Lielupe basin is around 17 787 km² - around half of basin is placed in Latvia and half – in Lithuania.
  • Evaluation by area – the River Lielupe basin is the fourth largest river basin in Latvia and the second largest in Lithuania.
  • For making the practical management easier the Lielupe River basin has been divided also in smaller management units called “sub basins”, for example, the river Mūsa and river Mēmele sub basin.
  • The length of the River Lielupe – 119 km; total amount of all tributaries – more than 250; the longest tributaries: the river Mēmele– 191 km, the river Mūsa– 164 km, the river Iecava together with the river Veciecava– 155 km, the river Svēte– 116 km. The average discharge – 106 m³/ s (in the estuary) but during the flood periods the river discharge can reach even 1380 m³/s. The river is slow flowing river – its slope is about 0.09 m/ km. The annual run-off of waters: 3.6 km³ (50% off this – from the tributaries).
  • Around 14% from Latvian populations and around 11.5 % from Lithuanian populations. Altogether here live around 840 thousand inhabitants, half of them – in the towns.
  • Relief, climate conditions and soil fertility are providing a good basis for agricultural development in the basin. More than half of the River Lielupe basin is used for agriculture – in Latvia it is 71% and in Lithuania – 52 %.