Area-focused national-regional collaboration to tackle nutrients

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) formulates objectives concerning good water quality. These include an approach to the nutrient problem in the Meuse region. This project researches and promotes an area-focused approach in eight Meuse-region areas: four surface water areas and four water abstraction areas. Increased coherence and integration should lead to the mutual reinforcement of national instruments and regional customisation.

Light on area-focused solutions

The Netherlands is working towards the WFD water quality objectives in its Delta-approach Water Quality and Fresh Water. There are however limits to an approach based solely on national laws and regulations. Solutions must also in part be based on regional customisation. There is still an open question about how to organise area-focused solutions to the nutrient problem and how to harmonise them with national policy. This project is an initiative within the framework of the Knowledge Impulse on Water Quality, a joint program of 4 knowledge institutes to provide the necessary knowledge for the Delta approach.

Living Lab

The project brings together eight ongoing area processes, which are aimed at improving water quality in the provinces of North Brabant and Limburg, in a Living Lab in which the approach to the nutrient problem is of central concern. The nutrient problem is to be mapped out for each area, taking into account the geophysical, socio-economic and administrative context. Working with the area partners affected, we select effective measures and functional combinations and discuss implementation paths. The Living Lab’s purpose is to facilitate exchanges between the different area processes and to enable stakeholders to learn from each other.

Optimal harmonisation of regional customisation and national policy

The methodology resulting from the project will contribute to determining which processes and tools are needed for area-focused solutions within broad national frameworks. Transposed to a concrete situation, this will provide an optimal harmonisation between regional customisation and national policy implementation to tackle the nutrient problem in the Meuse region.