About Rijnland (ENG)

The Rijnland Regional Water Authority.

Who are we and what is our business. The Rijnland Regional Water Authority ensures clean water and dry feet. District water boards are local governmental organisations that could be compared with provinces and local councils.

Rijnland is not the only district water board in the Netherlands. There are many water boards spread over the provinces. Rijnland works in two provinces: North Holland and South Holland. The Rijnland area stretches from Wassenaar up to IJmuiden and from Gouda to and including part of Amsterdam.. This area covers 1,100 square kilometres. 1.3 million people live, work, travel and enjoy leisure activities here. This area includes many lakes, rivers, canals and 200 polders. It is bordered on the north-westside by the North Sea.

Rijnland's key-tasks include:

  • ensuring that dunes, dikes and embankments are in good condition and fit to provideadequate flood-protection(flood defences) 
  • ensuring a good quality of open water so that it can be used for recreation, watering cattle and as a habitat for a large variety of plants and animals (water quality);
  • ensuring that the waterlevels are adequate througout the area; there must be sufficient (fresh) water, not too much and not too little (water management);
  • ensuring that polluted river, canal- and lakebeds are cleaned in order to balance the water-ecosystem sothat the water provides opportunities for natural development in the countryside as well as in towns and cities (water management plus).

Providing drinking water is not one of the responsibilities of Rijnland. The watercompanies take care of this. Local councils and provinces are responsible for groundwater.

Flood defences

The dunes en dikes

Safety has always been the number one priority of the Rijnland Regional Water Authority, as it still is today. Protection against flooding is a prerequisite for living and working in this part of the Netherlands. Climate change, sea level rise and soil subsidence set boundary conditions for water management in the 21st century. The flood defences must be high and strong enough to withstand the rapid changing waterenvironment. The Water Control Board is responsible for maintaining a 40 kilometre-long zone of dunes that provides protection fromthe sea.

Water quality

Waste water purification plants

Rijnland processes waste water from homes and businesses. This waste water arrives at Rijnland's purifying plants via the sewage system. There the water is cleaned. This is done naturally with the aid of bacteria and oxygen. The clean water is then discharged into open water. Rijnland owns and operates 19 purification plants within its area.

Rijnland also devotes a lot of effort to preventing pollution in open water. Rijnland grants permits that impose strict conditions for discharging waste water. Rijnland checks for and investigates illegal discharges of waste water. 

Water analysis

In order to establish the quality of the water, analyses are carried out by a dedicated laboratory. In addition to this, corporate waste water is scrutinized for the presence of heavy metals, salt, oxygen, phosphates and nitrogen. The quality and composition of plant and animal life in the water isa consideration as well.

Water management

Pumping stations

Rijnland's pumping stations ensure that water is always at the required level. The level of open water should not vary too much. If the water level rises too high, this can result in damaging plants and crops.. If the water level is too low, this can damage the foundations of buildings and dikes. So the water level has a direct influence on the infrastructural and agricultural environment. The water in Rijnland's drainage system - composed of a series of interconnected lakes, ponds and canals - is always kept at a constant level: 60 centimetres under a fixed standard level, the "Normal Amsterdam Level"

Water management Plus


Most substances that get into the water finally end up in the bed of the waterway. So polluted substances end up in the bed as well, which then releases it back into the water. So it is important to clean the polluted bed. This is done by dredging. It also enables Rijnland to keep the waterways at their correct width and depth, allowing ships to travel safely and providing sufficient room to add or remove water when needed, or even to store water.

Nature & the environment

Rijnland puts also effort into reintegration ofnature and water into their natural state. For example, Rijnland designs and carries out projects for construction of nature-friendly banksides. You no longer find them as steep, edged brick-reinforced wateredges, but sloping banks covered in waterplants. Local wildlife such as waterbirdsand other animals thrive in these areas as they can move more easy between water and land. The shallows along are ideal breeding areas for fish.


Watermanagement is not just the business of the water board. National and provincial governments and local councils are also involved in it. Also, a growing group of various other organisations is also paying more attention to water: drinkingwater companies, agricultural and horticultural organisations, watersports clubs, fishing clubs, nature and environmental organisations, chambers of commerce and leisure companies. These are all organisations that are concerned with and have an interest in water. Rijnland is working together with all of these parties in various projects. 

Land drainage rates

Watermanagement is necessary, at the same time however, it also costs a lot of money. The money comes from Land Drainage Rates that are paid by the inhabitants within the Rijnland area.

What can you do to keep water clean?

  • Do not flush food leftovers, cat-litter granules, sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, cooking fat, etc. through the toilet or down the plug-hole. This also prevents blockages at home.
  • Leftover pesticides/herbicides, photographic chemicals, medicines, paint and used engine oil must not enter the waste water system. You can return medicines, engine oil and photographic chemicals to your supplier. Small amounts of chemical waste such as leftover paint can be handed over to your local council.

Want to know more?

071 306 3535