Will the Netherlands be put 'on hold' again, because of the WFD?

The challenges posed by the European Water Framework Directive

The Bethunepolder near Maarssen, a drinking water catchment area for Amsterdam (Photo by TranceMist on Flickr)

On 1 June, the Lower House Committee for Infrastructure and Water Management organised a roundtable discussion in which MPs were updated by experts and stakeholders on the challenges posed by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) to drastically improve the quality of ground and surface water as early as 2027. Among the scientists who spoke was Marleen van Rijswick, professor of European and national water law at Utrecht University and leader of the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law. As with the nitrogen issue, the country could be put "on hold", Van Rijswick said – although these restrictions would be less far-reaching, but rather localised around certain water bodies: "European law attaches great importance to citizens, NGOs and businesses being able to enforce these protections in court. This is already possible now, when it comes to the deterioration ban, and will apply from 2027 for the attainment of good status of all waters."

To read the article in Dutch, please visit Gaat Nederland vanwege de KRW opnieuw 'op slot'?

I would like to emphasise that the directive's main importance is that we get healthy water for current and future generations. But I also know that very many people only become alert when risks are imminent.