Freshwater - National Responses (Belgium)
Several measures are taken in various action programmes in order to reduce nitrate concentration in groundwater bodies.
Nitrogen management plans (Nitrates Directive)
To reduce the environmental nitrate pollution in general and to reduce treatment to make water drinkable, the three Belgian regions have taken several measures listed in different action programmes such as the Programme for the Sustainable Management of Nitrogen in Agriculture (PGDA-2) in the Walloon Region or the Manure decree and its related manure action plans in the Flemish Region (in accordance with the European ‘Nitrates’ Directive). These programmes not only impose various measures on farmers to reduce nitrogen leaching (e.g. norms for fertiliser application, ‘nitrate trap’ crops, storage of livestock effluent, measurements of potentially leachable nitrate in the soil...) but also promote the use of low nutrient feed, and foster farmer know-how and good agricultural practice. Furthermore the implemented expanded multifunctional monitoring networks in Flanders and Wallonia are part of the action programmes and help to evaluate the effects of measures and the related nitrates trend evolution.
The regions are also pursuing a programme to protect drinking water source areas by designating protection zones for groundwater and regulating some activities within these zones. If the quality of the groundwater does not improve, they intend to apply supplementary measures, which are detailed in river basin district management plans.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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