Voice your opinion on the new river basin management plan for the Belgian coastal waters | Compendium Coast and Sea

Voice your opinion on the new river basin management plan for the Belgian coastal waters

The Belgian coastal waters (up to 12 nm) are influenced by freshwater inflows from rivers such as the Scheldt and the Yser. In addition, there is an influx of Atlantic waters and various activities at sea, such as dredging, shipping and fishing, have an impact on the quality of the Belgian coastal water. To map, manage and monitor this, the federal government drew up a new river basin management plan (2022-2027) (Dutch).

This plan includes:

  • a description of the characteristics of the river basin district and of the Belgian coastal waters;
  • an overview of significant pressures and impacts of human activity on the status of surface waters (such as the input of pollutants via rivers and the impact of various activities at sea)
  • the results of the monitoring programmes and a description of the chemical and ecological status;
  • the programme of measures: a description of the supplementary measures. The improvement of the ecological and chemical quality of coastal waters depends mainly on measures taken upstream;
  • the results of the public consultation (2018-2019) on the calendar of the different phases in the preparation of this third management plan and on the important water management issues.

The new river basin management plan is being prepared in implementation of the Water Framework Directive, which was adopted by the European Union in 2000 (Directive 2000/60/EC). The aim of this directive is to achieve and maintain a good ecological and chemical status for all water bodies (rivers, lakes, coastal and transitional waters and groundwater). The Belgian federal government is competent for the management of Belgian coastal waters.

The first river basin management plan for the Belgian coastal waters was adopted on 7 December 2009 and the second on 22 December 2016. The Water Framework Directive requires river basin management plans to be revised every six years. The Belgian federal government will adopt the third river basin management plan at the latest on 22 December 2021.

Details on how to react and the draft plan can be found on the website of the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment