OECD Studies on Water

English
ISSN: 
2224-5081 (online)
ISSN: 
2224-5073 (print)
DOI: 
10.1787/22245081
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Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.

Also available in French
 
Water Governance in the Netherlands

Water Governance in the Netherlands

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English
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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214051e.pdf
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Author(s):
OECD
17 Mar 2014
Pages:
296
ISBN:
9789264102637 (PDF) ;9789264208940(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264102637-en

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This report assesses the extent to which Dutch water governance is fit for future challenges and sketches an agenda for the reform of water policies in the Netherlands. It builds on a one-year policy dialogue with over 100 Dutch stakeholders, supported by robust analytical work and drawing on international best practice.

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  • Foreword

    The OECD has long been a strong advocate for water management that contributes to economic growth, environmental sustainability and social welfare. Solving today’s water problems and coping with those of tomorrow requires adaptive, agile and resilient institutions at different levels coupled with a clear understanding of capacity of governments to manage the inter-related risks of too much water, too little water, too polluted water and risks regarding the resilience of freshwater ecosystems.

  • Preface

    Is Dutch water management fit for the future? This was the principal question discussed by all governing bodies responsible, at their first meeting, shortly after the current government came into office in 2012. All agreed on the need for a future-oriented vision on water management – a vision focused on the challenges ahead, that would enable us to address potential problems in our water management in a well-reasoned way. Such a vision could help us explore possible solutions, anticipate policy changes and equip our governance structures accordingly.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    This report assesses the extent to which Dutch water governance is fit for future challenges and outlines an agenda for the reform of water policies in the Netherlands. It builds on a year-long policy dialogue with over 100 Dutch stakeholders, supported by robust analytical work and drawing on international best practice.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    This report assesses the extent to which Dutch water governance is fit for future challenges and suggests ways to adjust or reform policies and institutions. It is based on a one-year policy dialogue with a wide range of Dutch stakeholders, supported by robust analytical work and drawing on international best practice.

  • Interlocking water management functions in the Netherlands

    This chapter provides an institutional mapping of who does what across levels of government and of the public authorities involved in water management in the Netherlands. It is structured around key water management functions: flood defence; water quantity and drainage; water quality; sewage management and wastewater treatment; and drinking water supply. The chapter identifies linkages and mismatches in the allocation of roles and responsibilities, and sheds light on the mutual dependency of the "sub-national triangle" composed of provinces, municipalities and regional water authorities. It suggests ways forward for better interconnectedness across water management functions, and with related areas such as environmental protection, land use, agriculture and nature conservation.

  • Knowing water risks in the Netherlands

    This chapter sets out the current challenges faced by the Netherlands to manage water risks ("too much", "too little", "too polluted" water and the risk of undermining the resilience of freshwater ecosystems), based on OECD’s framework for water security. It examines the extent to which the Dutch "know" the water risks they face, which requires bringing together both scientific risk assessments as well as an understanding of risk perceptions by stakeholders. The chapter then proposes options for improving the knowledge of water risks and raising awareness, which can influence decisions about exposure and vulnerability to water risks as well as secure willingness to pay for the management of water risks.

  • Key future trends for Dutch water governance

    Four broad categories of long-term drivers affect water risks and the capacity of the current water management system to adequately respond to them today and in the future: climate change, economic and demographic trends, socio-political trends illustrated by European water policies, and innovation and technologies. This chapter synthesises projected effects of these drivers on water demand and water availability, water governance and financing in the Netherlands. It explores consequences for Dutch water management, in particular with regard to path dependency and resilience. Potential consequences are discussed, on governance and institutions, infrastructure design and financing, and policies that affect water risks.

  • Multi-level water governance in the Netherlands

    This chapter assesses the performance of Dutch water governance against a set of generic principles and the OECD Multi-Level Governance Framework. It analyses how institutional fragmentation and interdependencies are managed across multiple administrative scales and spatial dimensions. It seeks to understand whether water management goals are clearly defined and reached; how they are connected with related policy areas (spatial planning) and whether they deliver the expected outcomes. The chapter also discusses recent policy responses towards cost-effective water governance and reallocation of roles and responsibilities, and the effectiveness of policy instruments such as the Delta Programme. It concludes by suggesting ways forward to bridge identified governance gaps and foster greater integration across levels of government and policy areas.

  • Managing water risks in the Netherlands at the least cost to society

    This chapter provides an overview of the current Dutch approach to determining an acceptable level of water risks and managing them at the least cost to society. Drawing on the OECD’s framework for water security, it examines how an acceptable level of water risks is determined (either explicitly or implicitly) in Dutch water management. The chapter then proposes options for achieving a better balance between the economic, social and environmental consequences of water risks and the cost of amelioration. The chapter also provides an overview of the current approach to managing water risks. Some limitations of current approaches are illustrated by case studies, which document the weakness of some economic incentives and a lack of consistency across policy areas, which drive up the cost of water management today and in the future. Policy options to improve the incentives for public and private actors to better manage water risks are proposed.

  • Achieving financial sustainability for Dutch water management

    This chapter provides an overview of the financing system for Dutch water management, bringing together data from a variety of sources into a consistent framework. The chapter provides insights into the overall cost of water resources management, across functions and institutions, examines the various sources of financing, and summarises key studies on projected future costs. Based on the OECD’s framework for financing water resources management, it also identifies opportunities to improve financial sustainability. Particular attention is paid to the application of the "beneficiary pays" and "polluter pays" principles, as well as incentives for cost efficiency and the fair allocation of costs across water users.

  • Water governance in the Netherlands as a driver for better accountability

    This chapter discusses the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement and economic regulation in fostering accountability in Dutch water governance. It provides insights on strengths and needed improvements of existing benchmarking systems for regional water authorities, municipalities and drinking water companies, as well as a menu of options for further transparency of information and performance monitoring. The chapter also discusses the origins, key actors and on-the-ground results of the Dutch "Polder Model", its evolution in the context of the European Union incentives for public participation. It suggests ways forward for better inclusiveness of civil society at large and reflection of unheard voices (the environment) in the decision-making process.

  • List of Dutch stakeholders consulted during the policy dialogue
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