The Water System and Water Chain in Dutch Water and Environmental Legislation

Pieter Jong
Secretary of the Advisory Committee on
Water Management Legislation and
part-time university lecturer in the faculty of Technology,
Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology,
P.O. Box 20906, 2500 EX Den Haag


This paper deals with Dutch legislation on the water system and water chain. In brief, the water system is the totality of surface water and ground water, which belong together to the natural environment; while the water chain lies in the sphere of public utilities, comprising the pathway from drinking-water supply to wastewater treatment. The water system is regulated in legislation for which the M inistry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management is responsible. The water chain is regulated in legislation for which the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment is responsible. The present paper considers, with reference to some recent Parliamentary bills, how the water system and the water chain will be regulated in the coming years. The Water Act is particularly important; this Act implies a huge modernisation of traditional Dutch water law. Particular attention is paid in this connection to the role of municipalities in relation to the water system and water chain. In the terms used in the above-mentioned bills, a municipality cannot be regarded as a water manager, though it has certain tasks that are of importance for water management.


Groundwater, rainwater, sewage system, stormwater, water agreement, water chain, water management, water system, water test, waste water.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893