Within the Netherlands, government ministries, regional and local government bodies, district water boards and drinking water supply companies are all actively involved in water management. Through bilateral agreements with other countries, mostly in the form of Memoranda of Understanding, the Dutch government has shown its firm commitment to international efforts to ensure water availability and provide protection against flooding. One of the most important elements of these agreements is the creation of an institutional and legal framework governing water. Such a framework guarantees access to water, ensures that the management of water systems is transparent, and allows citizens to participate in decision-making.
On a national scale, water management is on the agenda of five Dutch ministries. These are the:
- Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management
- Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
- Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Economic Affairs
In order to stimulate cooperation and make successful matches between players in the Dutch water sector and foreign parties, these ministries run a joint programme called Partners for Water.
Regional government - the provinces
The provinces are responsible for surface water with regard to transport, bathing and other water quality, waste water treatment and managing groundwater levels.
Local government - the municipalities
The municipalities are responsible for the collection and transport of raw sewage and safeguarding urban water.
Water boards have been around since 1250 AD and still play a key role in regional water management. They are responsible for the treatment of sewage and other waste water, and for protection against flooding. Together with various national and municipal
authorities and the twelve Dutch drinking water companies, they devise Dutch water management policies, protect the country against water-related risks such as flooding and provide access to clean water for drinking, agriculture, industry and other purposes. By law, water boards have a right to levy taxes to maintain the water management system.
To learn more about the Dutch Government, go to: www.government.nl