River Basin Management in the Rhine West sub basin

The Rhine West Water Council is responsible for the regional implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and contributes to the River Basin Management Plan.

The Rhine-West river basin is situated in the most western part of the Netherlands. It is highly industrialized and urbanized. Yet it is of major ecological importance with several ecologically important areas and main open connections from the sea to the rivers of the Dutch Delta. Thus, the Rhine-West region is a gateway to Europe, both economically and ecologically.

The Rhine West Water Council

The Rhine West Water Council is responsible for the regional implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and contributes to the River Basin Management Plan. Representatives of. All water authorities in the region co-operating within the Rhine West water council are:

  • 4 provincial authorities
  • 8 water boards
  • representatives of the 170 municipalities
  • the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M)
  • Rijkwaterstaat (part of I&M and responsible for the main water courses)

Non-governmental organisations like agricultural and environmental organisations are represented in an advisory group.

Implementing the WFDfoto 4a caspargouw

The water authorities implement the WFD goals by putting in place specific measures. Those individual measures are an integrated part of the Rhine Delta River Basin Management Plan. In the Netherlands with its abundance of water different water authorities have different tasks in water management. The Rhine West Water Council is responsible for the co-ordination of those plans and advising its members on how to implement the WFD and improve water quality. Close co-operation between the water authorities in the region has intensified significantly as a result of the WFD process.

WFD special projects

The Rhine West Water Council has started several specific WFD projects.The most important are:

  • the Eutrophication Project, aimed at reducing the supply of nutrients in groundwater and surfacewaters. Agriculture is the main source of nutrients in Rhine-West. In this projects the water authorities have worked together with agricultural organisation on concrete plans for implementing measures in agricultural areas and on farms.
  • the Roadmap for Fish Migration. See below.

Roadmap for Fish Migration - a regional approach

Veldbezoek Haringvliet 2014-11

The Rhine-West Roadmap for Fish Migration complements the (inter)national Masterplan for fish migration (ICPR) which focuses on national waters. The roadmap highlights the importance of connecting the highways (national waters) to the regional roads (waters) in regards to fish migration. Its planning method makes good use of regional fish expert knowledge. The Roadmap easily identifies obstacles to fish migration and enables the selection and prioritizing of successful measures. The method is relevant to the restoration of all migratory fish, particularly in regard to the EU Eel Directive. Eel is a critically endangered fish species, which needs to have access to the regional waters to fulfill its life cycle. The roadmap method can be used to produce a joint River Basin Roadmap for Fish Migration. This project has learned that the subject of fish migration is an easy way of communicating the successes of the WFD process.


More information?

Download the Rhine-West Roadmap to Fish Migration (pdf, 19 MB)

To view the Film ‘Road to Healty Water’ about the Roadmap, please visit the Rhine-West Youtube channel:


Download the Rhine West presentation on the INBO conference in November 2014.

Contact information: Steven Visser (project manager) steven@visserwaterbeheer.com