Towards an effective protection of groundwater resources: putting policy into practice with the drinking water protection file

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Groundwater in the Netherlands is a major resource for drinking water. As such it must be carefully monitored and managed. Evaluation of the European Water Framework Directive (EU-WFD) showed that protection of this valuable resource needs improvement. The Drinking Water Protection File identifies necessary measures needed per water abstraction site. The Protection File is part of the Dutch national EU-WFD implementation strategy, intended to improve the protection level of groundwater resources. It consists of a national top-down framework and a regional bottom-up process, which respectively enforces commitment and enhances stakeholder awareness regarding risks and actions needed regarding the identification and implementation of measures enhancing the protection level of groundwater resources. It is yet uncertain whether the initial implementation of the measures in the first planning cycle is adequate to obtain compliance with EU-WFD objectives in 2021, because (i) some of these measures are on a voluntary basis and (ii) standards for the remediation of point source pollution and allowed application of nutrients do not currently comply with drinking water standards.

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