Integrated water Policy in Flanders

The institutional framework of the water policy in Flanders is described in the decree on Integrated Water Policy. The Decree constitutes the general framework for the water policy in Flanders.


The Flemish Decree on Integrated Water Policy 

The Flemish Decree on Integrated Water Policy is officially approved in July 2003. This decree is the juridical implementation of the European Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive in Flemish law.

The organisation and planning of the integrated water management

For the organisation and planning of the integrated water management, the decree on Integrated Water Policy distinguishes 3 levels:

  1. the River Basin District (Scheldt and Meuse) with the river basin management plans
  2. the Flemish region (river basins Scheldt, Meuse, IJzer, Polders of Bruges) with the Water Policy Note
  3. the sub-basin (11) with the river catchment management plans, that are part of the river basin management plans.

The international coordination for the river basin districts of the Scheldt, resp. Meuse is assigned to the International Scheldt Commission (ISC) and the International Meuse Commission (IMC) through the treaties of Ghent (03.12.02).

The minister who is responsible for integrated water policy is assisted by the Coordination Committee on Integrated Water Policy (CIW). This commission is responsible for the coordination of the integrated water policy on the level of the Flemish Region.

Flanders is divided in 11 sub-basins. In each sub-basins there is a common consultative and organisational structure, i.e. the basin management (political consultation between the Flemish Region, the provinces and the municipalities), the basin secretary (technical-official)  and the basin council (social consultation with the stakeholders).

Obligation to provide information

In October 2013 the decree on Integrated Water Policy introduced an obligation to provide information on properties which are fully or partly located in a flood-prone area, in a demarcated flooding area or in a demarcated riparian zone.

Any person who sells, leases for more than 9 years, contributes or transfers the usufruct, long lease or building rights, is required to notify the "water sensitive nature" in all publicity regarding the sale, lease or transfer. Further, this information should also be included in all private agreements and authentic deeds relating to the above transactions. The obligation to inform applies to any person or legal entity acting on its own account or as an intermediary (owner, estate agent and notary).

In addition, the federal government also created an obligation to inform regarding property located in a flooding risk area within the context of the natural disaster insurance.

Blue Deal: an ambitious programme  to tackle water scarcity and drought

To tackle water scarcity and drought, the Government of Flanders launched in 2020 the Blue Deal. The Blue Deal is an ambitious programme that tackles water scarcity and drought in the field through a multitude of campaigns. Rather than focusing on the causes, the Blue Deal aims to develop structural solutions. 

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