1st Edition

Water Policy in the Netherlands Integrated Management in a Densely Populated Delta

Edited By Stijn Reinhard Copyright 2009

    As a low-lying delta region with a high population density, the Netherlands has long focused on the prevention of flooding catastrophes and the reclamation of valuable land. The evolution of Dutch water governance, beginning with the creation of local 'water boards' in the Middle Ages and growing into a complex infrastructure of polders, dams, and controlled waterways offers a compelling study of pitfalls and successes within one of the worlds most challenging regions for water management. Water Policy in the Netherlands traces the arc of water governance in the country, from technological innovations to prevent wide-scale flooding, to strategies focused primarily on improving water quality, to an integral water management approach which brings together perspectives from economics, hydrology, ecology, water law, and water technology. The contributions in this book demonstrate how both the technical and social sciences must play key roles in crafting policy in the face of serious environmental challenges including climate change, sea level rise, and increasing soil subsidence. Innovative themes explored in the work include: how economic models and pricing structures might improve efficiency in the distribution of water resources, how the competing uses for water-including for recreation, arable agriculture, fisheries, and natural preservation-create demands on both the quantity and quality of water resources, and how public participation, cogovernance, and the balance of public and private interests will be necessary to meet the goals of the EU‘s Water Framework Directive. This resource serves as both an invaluable case study and as a text to develop the analytical tool of integral water management for students, policy-makers, and NGO professionals in developed and developing regions.

    Foreword, by Margreeth de Boer Editors and Contributors Introduction Part 1: Key Issues in Dutch Water System Management 1. From a Defensive to an Integrated Approach 2. Hydrological Models 3. Threats to Intertidal Soft-Sediment Ecosystems 4. Management of Flood Catastrophes: An Emerging Paradigm Shift? 5. Costs and Benefits of Water Policy Part II: Water Chain Management and Water Quality 6. Efficient and Equitable Use of Water Resources 7. Policies to Encourage the Development of Water Sanitation Technology Part III. Institutional, Governance, and Management Theories and Practices 8. Institutional Evolution of the Dutch Water Board Model 9. Governance of Water Resources 10. Water Policy and Spatial Planning: Linkages between Water and Land Use 11. Interaction between European and Dutch Water Law 12. Innovative Approaches to Public Participation in Water Management 13. Conclusions: Lessons from Dutch Integrated Water Management Index


    Stijn Reinhard is head of the Spatial and Regional Policy unit of LEI (Agricultural Economics Research Institute), the Hague. His current research focuses on water economics. He received the American Agricultural Economics Association best dissertation award for his work on environmental efficiency. Henk Folmer is professor of research methodology and spatial econometrics at the University of Groningen and of general economics at Wageningen University. Among his main research interests are microeconomics, including game theory and environmental and resource economics; and econometrics, including spatial econometrics. He is editor in chief (with Tom Tietenberg) of the International Review (formerly Yearbook) of Environmental and Resource Economics and coordinating editor in chief of Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences. His other books include Land and Forest Economics (together with Cornelis van Kooten). He is doctor honoris causa at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

    'Our present test is not only to develop new technology to address the impact of water and climate related issues in the Netherlands, but also to involve social science in the process. This book provides examples and practical knowledge of water governance, legislation, public participation, economics, and the history of water policy development in the Netherlands. Although the book addresses the water challenges of a specific region, it will be very useful for policymakers and water managers facing similar problems in other countries.' Maarten Scheffers, senior policy advisor, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Netherlands 'The challenge of an integrated system approach is broadly accepted by professionals all over the world. This book however also indicates how it can be done, combining the technical and social sciences, and working in a synchronized way with different levels of government and in cooperation with the private sector and citizens.' Geert Teisman, Erasmus University, the Netherlands