Exports of the Dutch agriculture sector surpass 90 billion euros, which represents one fifth of the country’s total exports and ranks it as the second biggest exporter of agricultural products globally. Moreover, agriculture and horticulture are seen as key growth sectors. The agricultural and water sectors face the joint challenge of achieving the water quality objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and of safeguarding the growth of the agricultural sector. The WFD objectives, which were adopted in 2000, were for the most part not achieved within the 15-year deadline. The maximum possible deadline extension of two six-year cycles has therefore been invoked with the aim of achieving them. Nevertheless, it is expected that the water quality objectives will only be partially met in 2027. This tension between water quality objectives and agricultural growth, in light of the recent Urgenda climate case and the preliminary injunction submitted by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieu Defensie) for cleaner air, may mean that the Dutch government will have to take drastic measures in the near future. What are the opportunities and threats connected to achieving the water quality objectives? And what is the role of the drinking water companies, waterboards and water managers in a context of the widespread intensification of agriculture and horticulture in the coming decades and beyond?
These questions are at the centre of the Agricultural Developments and Water Quality symposium that KWR will hold on 19 February 2018. The occasion will offer us the opportunity to learn about the impact of agricultural and horticultural developments on the water sector, and develop the building blocks for a strategic response, enabling the water sector to contribute to sustainable solutions. This will be achieved through knowledge sharing between experts and professionals from the water, agricultural, horticultural and other sectors. Professor Hans Mommaas, Director-General of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and part-time Professor of Regional Sustainability Governance, will be shedding light on this important theme for us. In a recent interview in the NRC Mommaas calls for a delta plan for Dutch agriculture – he will be explaining this plan on 19 February. Carel de Vries, Project Leader, Vruchtbare Kringloop Achterhoek en Liemers, will supplement this long-term vision by offering us insights into a current practical project. The symposium is part of an impact study that KWR is conducting for the water companies.
How will you benefit?
- You’ll gain insight into agricultural and horticultural developments in relation to, and their impact on, water quality.
- You’ll share knowledge with colleagues and external experts.
- You’ll collaborate in building concrete building blocks for a strategic response.
If you’d like to attend the symposium please register here.