Rli publishes advisory report "Good Water, Good Policy"

The quality and quantity of groundwater and surface water in the Netherlands are under pressure. This poses a threat to public health, nature and processes in drinking water production, industry and agriculture. Moreover, national and international regulations are not being followed. For example, the European Water Framework Directive sets standards to be achieved by 2027. But this is almost certainly no longer feasible. As a result, numerous activities in the Netherlands could be forced to a halt at local level, as happened in the nitrogen case. There is also a risk that the Netherlands could face fines from the European Union.

advisory report "Good Water, Good Policy" presented to Mark Harbers Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management

In its advisory report "Good Water, Good Policy", presented to Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management on 11 May 2023, the Rli concludes that current and planned policies to achieve healthy water systems and their implementation are inadequate and do not fully follow through into all policy areas affecting water systems. Additional measures are needed and the effectiveness of all the measures should be assessed to allow timely adjustments to be made if necessary.

We can no longer afford to allow a discretionary approach in this regard. For example, general rules on fertilisers, plant protection products and the discharge of hazardous substances should be tightened up. Water boards should also be required to upgrade sewage treatment plants. In addition, the Rli recommends that all groundwater and surface water abstractions in areas at risk of water shortage should be made subject to licensing. All these measures must be introduced quickly.

Read the full press release here

Learn more about the advisory report: ‘Good Water, Good Policy’ here

For more information about the advisory report, please contact project leader Nicole van Buren at nicole.van.buren@rli.nl, +31 (0)6 1017 2005.