Freshwater - Outlook 2020 (Netherlands)
The goal is to improve the quality of both groundwater and surface water, complying with legal (EU) standards (Water Framework Directive). It is expected that the concentration of nitrate in groundwater will improve, but not enough to meet the standard (50 mg/l) in 2027 (Figure 9). Also, by 2027, surface waters are expected to reach approximately 40 to 60 % of the WFD EU standards for N and P (Figure 10). This is also the case for the ecological quality of regional waters (Figure 11).
As a result of the European Nitrate Directive, the nitrogen surplus in Dutch agriculture decreased by almost 40% between 1992 and 2007. The average nitrate concentration during the winter period in fresh surface waters has been decreasing since 1998. Both nitrate content and eutrophication are decreasing. However, it takes several years before the effects of policy measures taken by farmers are seen in the water quality. It is therefore expected that it will be some years before the effects of recent policy measures from the current action programme (2004-2009) are seen in the water quality and that water quality will therefore only show further improvement in the 2010-2015 period.
The implementation of WFD measures is expected to result in a good water condition in about one quarter of all water bodies by 2015. For the remaining three-quarters, this will be reached after 2015. Because EU targets are expected not to be met by 2015, there will be a phasing to 2027 (time exemptions). This requires studying the river basin management plans (Stroomgebiedbeheerplannen (SGBP)) http://www.kaderrichtlijnwater.nl/uitvoering/nationaal/item_27248/. In addition, the effects of climate change are being studied further. See also the Veerman report on: http://www.deltacommissie.com/
Figure 9: Nitrate concentration in upper groundwater levels in sandy areas
Figure 10: Regional waters which meet the EU WFD standards for N and P
Figure 11: Regional waters which meet the ecological EU WFD standards