Water level decision in a new form
The Schieland and Krimpenerwaard District Water Control Board is responsible for water management in the Zuidplaspolder and Snelle Polder. One of the components of that responsibility is the determination of a level (NAP height) for surface waters. This type of ‘water level decision’ must fulfil the legislative standards and also demands a certain amount of alignment with stakeholder interests. The choice of a water level has an influence on the ground level, as well as on a wide range of functions in the zone. Amendments of the ground level in urban areas could even have an influence on buildings’ foundations. The fact that the 1994 water level decision had become out-dated meant that the time had come to determine a new water level decision based on extensive research and measurements.
The District Water Control Board asked us to supervise the consultation process with the stakeholders. The first step was to map out all the parties with vested interests (stakeholder and environment analysis) and to contact them proactively. This gave the District Water Control Board the opportunity to engage in dialogue with all the parties concerned and to inform them on the proposed policy. The District Water Control Board used the input obtained from those sessions to further elaborate the water level decision. It then held a general information evening for local residents. “Environmental management” and “civilian participation” are the keywords in our contribution.
The dialogue with the stakeholders was extremely important for the success of the water level decision for Zuidplaspolder. It possible to establish a single, shard perspective because we presented a clear and transparent framework for the choice of the level and also because we emphasised the importance of an integral decision from the very beginning. This is particularly impressive given the fact that this is an area where approximately 100,000 people live, work and pursue recreational activities and in which conflicting interests play an important role.