This is Integrated River Basin Management

Over the coming decades, the national government, provinces, regional water authorities, and municipalities in the Netherlands will be working together to create healthy, navigable, safe, and attractive Meuse-Rhine basins.

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Programme Integrated River Basin Management

Our ambition

Our ambition is to create a future-proof river system that is multi-purpose and functions properly as a system.

We’ll factor in input from civil society organizations, other interest groups, and knowledge institutions. And as the river basin doesn’t stop at the Dutch border, we’ll also coordinate the plans with our partner authorities in Germany and Belgium.

Our tasks

The Dutch River basins are important economically, ecologically, and recreationally, and also represent an iconic landscape. However, various developments are harming the balance of this river system. The climate is changing: sea levels are rising, rainfall is becoming more extreme, and we’re experiencing longer periods of drought and heat. The river system itself has become unbalanced due to human interventions that are making the riverbed ever deeper.

The river basins face many challenges, whether in terms of water safety, navigability, availability of freshwater, water quality, nature, or ensuring an aesthetically and economically attractive environment in which to live, work, and relax.

Photo Comment note NRD
Photo Comment note NRD

A single integrated vision

Although these tasks must be viewed holistically, there isn’t enough space or scope to fulfil every wish. It’s clear that a sectoral approach no longer works. We need to approach the river as a single system again, to bring tasks together, and to assess and fulfil them based on a single, integrated vision. Only then can we keep the Meuse and Rhine River basins healthy and attractive. We’re committed to a multi-purpose use of the rivers and the surrounding areas while respecting the characteristics of the different distributaries.

Meuse Province
Meuse Province

In 2023

A Programme under the Omgevingswet

We’ll lay down our integral vision for IRM in a Programme under the Environment and Planning Act (PoW), which should be finalized in 2023. The PoW will replace the current structure vision (Structuurvisie) once the new Dutch Omgevingswet enters into force in 2022 our PoW will also set out our ambitions for drainage capacity and ground settlement. In addition, the PoW will describe the type of measures that are needed to harmonize our integrated vision with the international locations where we want to realize these measures. We’ll also agree on how we want to realize the plans together over the coming decades.

Cattle at secondary channel Waal near Nijmegen
Cattle at secondary channel Waal near Nijmegen

'It’s important for us to successfully bridge the gap between large-scale tasks – climate change, higher runoff, drought, and whatever else comes our way – and local interests and dynamics.'

Steven Voest Programme manager
Steven Voest, programme manager