New National Water Plan focuses on spatial planning

The Netherlands will be safer if we take more account of water issues in the spatial design of rural and urban areas. The New National Water Plan focuses on spatial planning, because this is where we can make gains in our water management. The Cabinet intends to have a better and more efficient relationship between space and water. This is set down in the draft National Water Plan 2016-2021, which the Council of Ministers approved at the proposal of Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment.

With the National Water Plan, the Cabinet is implementing another ambitious step towards a robust and future-oriented design of our water system. Its goals include sound protection against flooding, preventing water nuisance, allowing for dry spells and achieving a good water quality and a healthy eco system, as the basis for welfare and prosperity. “If we all adopt a water-conscious point of view in working on the spatial design of the Netherlands, our delta will remain safe, climate-proof and attractive in an affordable manner,” Minister Schultz opined.

The new draft National Water Plan focuses on five ambitions. The Netherlands must remain the safest delta in the world. This ambition is mainly achieved by updating our flood safety standards. The Cabinet chooses to expand its investments in improving water quality (fertilizers, pesticides, medicinal residues, micro plastics) in order to keep the Dutch waters clean and healthy and to secure a sufficient supply of fresh water. Furthermore, the Cabinet wants the spatial design of the Netherlands to be rendered climate-proof and water-robust, thus ensuring that our country remains a model for water management and innovations. This is conducive to our economy and our earning power. Finally, the Cabinet wants the citizens of the Netherlands to live in a water-conscious manner. These ambitions must be fleshed out jointly by all those working on the spatial design of the Netherlands: all the government bodies, companies, civil society organisations and knowledge institutions.

The National Water Plan anchors the new policy for the six years ahead, with a look further ahead towards 2050. Incorporated into the National Water Plan are the Delta Decisions (water safety, fresh water supply and spatial adaptation), the North Sea Policy Memorandum, water-related agreements as set down in the Energy Agreement, the Nature Vision, the International Water Ambition: the updated plans and measures are scheduled to comply with the European requirements regarding water quality, flood risks and the marine environment.