Wednesday 20 March Elections for the Water Authority
In the weeks to come, we shall be busy making preparations for the Amstel, Gooi en Vecht water authority elections on Wednesday 20 March. The electoral list is complete and the online vote adviser (‘stemwijzer’) is online.
For the sake of clarity, we have also listed our main concerns. You can find them here in Dutch. And then, of course, there are the candidates you may consider voting for. This list can be found here.
Our 10 main concerns in the electoral programme
Rising sea levels demand stronger dykes. As far as we are concerned, they must be green whenever possible and be constructed in close consultation with the residents involved. Also, we are aiming for ecological river banks and recreational use of dykes wherever possible.
Increased rainfall causes flooding. We will tackle this by involving residents, persuading them to render their gardens greener and by assisting municipalities in setting up their water storage in man-made wadis and ponds.
Subsidence of peat pastures causes large amounts of CO2 to be released. This can only be prevented by halting the decrease of the groundwater level and by alternative use of peat pastures. For instance, it will no longer be possible to pasture cows everywhere.
The water authority must become energy-neutral. And actually, this is just the start, for it can produce more energy than it needs by using solar panels and wind mills, and by generating biogas.
Dutch water can and must be cleaner to improve biodiversity (fish, water plants, insects). Agricultural toxins, plastics and pharmaceuticals don’t belong there. Everything possible must be done to keep these substances from the water.
Waste water from sewage treatment plants ending up in water where people tend to swim makes for unsafe conditions. These waste flows need to be purified additionally or be disposal in areas where people don’t swim, for instance, the Amsterdam Rhine Canal.
What do we do with the sewage sludge from the sewage treatment plants? We uphold the principle that Waste = Resource. This also applies to the waste from sewage treatment plants. We hold that we should generate as many resources from sewage sludge as possible, for instance, fertiliser and cellulose as well as building materials and biogas.
Quite often, access to river banks has been restricted by private use. We aim for maximum access for recreational use by means of jetties, cycling tracks and footpaths, with the exception of specially appointed resting places.
The water authority boasts a number of old pumping stations and mills. The quality of our heritage is very dear to us. Old mills, locks, pumping stations and fortifications must be restored and maintained.
Who will pay for all this? We set great store by the polluter-pays principle. However, people who really cannot afford to pay taxes must be exempted. The heaviest burdens can and should rest on the strongest shoulders.