Water System and Water Chain in Dutch Water and Environmental Legislation

This paper deals with Dutch legislation about water system en water chain. In brief, the water system is the totality of surface water and ground water, which belong together to the natural environment; while the water chain lies in the sphere of public utilities, comprising the pathway from drinking-water supply to waste-water treatment. The water system is regulated in legislation for which the M inistry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management is responsible. The water chain is regulated in legislation for which the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment is responsible, The present paper considers, with reference to some recent Parliamentary bills, how the water system and the water chain will be regulated in the coming years. Especially the Water Bill is important; this Bill implies a huge modernization of traditional Dutch water law. Particular attention is paid in this connection to the role of the municipality in relation to water system and water chain. In the terms used in the above-mentioned bills, the municipality cannot be regarded as a water manager, though it does have certain tasks that are of importance for water management.