Freshwater - National Responses (Netherlands)
For the Dutch water safety policy, the starting point is a basic safety level for each citizen, a socially acceptable risk for large groups of people, and an economically optimal safety level.
The Netherlands policy plans focus on reducing the chances of flooding from the sea (e.g., through suppletion of sand in coastal defense systems), and flooding from rivers. For the latter the possibilities to retain water in inland water basins will be increased. The large rivers will be adjusted to be able to manage the larger outflows which are expected in the future.
For water quality, nearly 3000 national and regional measures have been laid down in SGBPs, for which regional and national plans have provided the building blocks. The SGBPs state the current water quality for each basin area, as well as the objectives for improving this quality and their corresponding measures. For the Netherlands, two approaches are combined to improve water quality: dealing with substances at their source, and improving the organisation of water systems.
Two programmes which have already been implemented dealing with water quality issues are the high water protection programme (Hoogwaterbeschermingsprogramma (HWBP)) http://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/water/veiligheid/bescherming_tegen_het_water/organisatie/hwbp/ which deals with primary dyke reinforcements and drainage systems, and Room for the River (Ruimte voor de Rivier) http://www.ruimtevoorderivier.nl, with around 40 large-scale measurements meant to protect river basin areas against flooding. Measures vary from digging out riparian meadows and dyke displacement to lowering groynes and enlarging summer riverbeds. For the Meuse River, specific measures will be taken to protect against high water, whereby the river is deepened and widened, combined with flood channels, retention basins and dyke reinforcements.
As of 2008 water board taxes have changed. Three new fees have been created. (1.) a so-called water system fee; to ensure ’dry feet and a clean freshwater supply’, (2.) a purification fee, to ensure treatment of waste water, and (3.) a pollution fee to allow discharges directly on freshwaters. The primary goal of the WFD is improvement of the ecological quality of water bodies, and therefore the most important benefit of measures taken originating out of the WFD. It is difficult to express this benefit in financial benefits. It is clear, though, that if freshwater is cleaner, and water bodies look nicer, it will be more attractive to live nearby.
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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