With the construction of the Afsluitdijk (IJsselmeer dam) in 1932, the Zuyderzee in the Netherlands was closed off from the sea. Over the years, the salinity of the newly formed lake declined. In the period 1956 – 1967, the polder Flevoland was constructed. After completion, four lakes, located between the polder and the “old land”, were formed.
These four lakes are called the Veluwe Randmeren (Veluwe border lakes). In the 1960s and 1970s, it became clear that the discharge of phosphates and nitrates from agriculture and household use was having a negative impact on the water quality in the lakes.
In 1986, a group consisting of national and local authorities undertook a project, which gradually increased the water quality.
In the 1990s, the lake region started attracting more and more people, thus posing new threats to the sustainable development of the region. To balance the natural and recreational functions in and around the Veluwe border lakes, a coalition of 19 authorities, interest groups, industries and individuals, joined forces and agreed to work on an integrated planning project for the Veluwe Randmeren.
Allowing stakeholders the opportunity to get to know each other individually and to put forward their own ideas and interests:
- Helped when unexpected problems arose,
- Formed the bases for collaboration in the execution phase, and
- Insured that upon execution, all participants had the same perception of the project.
Both the communication between all parties involved and the technical issues played an important role in this project. In total about 300 people helped define the problems in the Veluwe Randmeren. On the bases of the results of these meetings, experts defined strategies for the development of the region. One of these strategies has been elaborated into a regional plan, containing 36 measures. These will be executed within the period 2002 – 2010.
Importance of the case for IWRM
Ten municipalities, two water boards, three provinces, four ministries and several technical experts and interest groupings were involved in the process of defining the most serious problems. This is an important aspect as far as IWRM is concerned: the ultimate integrated plan for the development of the Veluwe Randmeren came into being by involving all relevant fields of expertise throughout the whole planning phase.
Photo credit: Paul Arps