The Hague, September 21, 2022 /EZPress/ – Put water and soil first in decisions about the future of the Netherlands. This is the call from Rogier van der Sande, president of the Union of Water Boards, in response to the plans announced by the cabinet on budget day. Water and soil are under pressure in the Netherlands and the limits have been reached in many places. With major consequences on the habitat, the nitrogen approach, the patterns of rural territories and the quality of water.
Rogier van der Sande: “In the Speech from the Throne, the King drew attention to the major social challenges facing the Netherlands. Such as those relating to climate, nature and housing. All these tasks require space and the pressure on space is too high. We are at a turning point. To avoid getting stuck, the importance of taking good care of water and soil must be paramount. If we want to structurally improve the situation in the Netherlands, we have to make choices in all areas. These will hurt. But if everyone contributes, the Netherlands can take convincing steps here. Many solutions can be found in the region. The water offices have knowledge of the area and the power to implement. We use them with other governments and partners to reverse the trend.
The Netherlands has a severe housing shortage and construction needs to be accelerated. It is crucial that new homes are built to be climate proof. This means that water and soil should come first in spatial choices. Rogier van der Sande: “Around 820,000 homes are planned in areas prone to flooding, slack, subsidence and humidity. It is important to make choices now for the future in the location, layout of living areas and in the construction of the houses themselves. Water and soil should be guiding factors in this regard. Build every new climate-proof home from now on. Otherwise, we will pass on the bill for stupidly built houses to subsequent generations.
The Netherlands also faces limitations in water quality, due to polluting substances, intensive land use and climate change. Water boards are asking for measures to prevent dangerous substances from ending up in the water. A healthy and clean water system is vital. Nature restoration and a vital campaign must go hand in hand. Rogier van der Sande: “We are pleased that it has been agreed to resolve the nature and nitrogen dossier in the national program for rural areas in conjunction with the European objectives for climate and water quality water. Here too, joint effort is a prerequisite. Water boards work hard to improve water quality and expect all parties involved to assume their responsibilities.
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Source: Union of Water Boards
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