HomeNetherlandsUN 2023 Water Conference: challenges that affect the Netherlands

UN 2023 Water Conference: challenges that affect the Netherlands

The landscape, culture and history of the Netherlands are inextricably linked to water. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with water. And since we feel a great responsibility in this area, we work both within our own borders and beyond to ensure good water management and clean drinking water. Below, we’ll look at four areas to explain how we do that: drought, flooding, drinking water, and democracy and water management.

In the Netherlands, the regional water authorities work with Rijkswaterstaat to prevent flooding, ensure a reliable supply of drinking water and prevent water shortages in dry periods.

Water has a major impact on the livelihoods of millions of people, on food and energy security and on health and the environment. But there are still far too few international agreements on water. We must accelerate our efforts if we are to meet the international goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN’s International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ (2018-2028). In the Netherlands, we get water just by turning on a tap.. But this is not always a given in other countries. According to the World Health Organization, one in three people do not have access to clean drinking water. The Netherlands is committed to making clean drinking water available to people around the world.

The Netherlands: a land of water

Too much, too little, too polluted: virtually every country faces problems with water. What’s more, water supplies around the world are coming under increasing pressure. The Netherlands has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with water. Both within its borders and beyond, it works to ensure good water management and clean drinking water.

Enlarge image In Zuid-Afrika wordt onderzoek gedaan naar de waterkwaliteit van een rivier.

Image: ©Blue Deal South Africa


That’s why the Netherlands and Tajikistan have organised the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York. The aim of this first UN water conference in nearly 50 years is to encourage countries around the world to prioritise water issues.

The Netherlands has been battling water for centuries. Its expertise can serve as an example for countries around the world, such as Pakistan, which faced the most severe flooding in its history in 2022.

Enlarge image Overstromingen

Image: ©William Moore


‘Recent trends have placed us in a truly new situation. 2018 and 2019 were very dry years, while in 2022, Rhine water discharges fell to a historic low.’

Enlarge image drinkwater

Image: ©P4G

Drinking water

News item | 20-03-2023 | 10:06

Enlarge image Luchtfoto zijaanzicht Oosterscheldekering

Image: ©Rijkswaterstaat / Michiel Wijnbergh

Democracy and water management

Climate change is causing more frequent periods of extreme drought, even in the Netherlands. We can learn a lot from countries where drought is more common, such as South Africa. Scientist Hans Waals, from the Hollandse Delta water authority, explains how the Netherlands and South Africa work together in this area.


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