The Water Holding project of Walcheren

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Setting up collaborative water system measures and a governance approach to increase self-sufficiency of freshwater availability for agriculture.

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Project summary: 

In the ‘Water Holding’ project - ‘Waterhouderij’ in Dutch - a group of seven farmers, research institutes and policymakers work together on sustainable freshwater buffering and distribution in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. By cooperating, they are building a collaborative and practical water governance approach to increase self-sufficiency and sustainable agricultural land use, in an area where salinisation is a problem.
The farmers participating in the project take actions such as setting up underwater storage facilities and irrigation channels to increase freshwater storage. By conserving and storing water during periods of heavy rainfall, farmers can extract water during periods of drought. These practices are adapted to find a balance between the risks of raising the water levels and the benefits of more fresh water during the growing season.

Project results: 

The surface water level has been raised structurally by between 0.1 to 0.4 metres without negative results for agriculture or the environment. 
The project has been successful in isolating saline water bodies.
An increased fresh water supply in the creek ridge (ca 60 000 m3), which is expected to double in volume in the future.
A new policy has been designed for the storage and usage of freshwater.