Living with Water: Not without Water Statistics
Kees Baas1, Cor Graveland2
1Environment Statistics, Statistics Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands; 2National Accounts, Environmental Accounts, Statistics Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands

After close to four decades of compiling water statistics in the Netherlands, water statistics has established itself as an important and increasingly source of information for Dutch water policies. This paper provides a review of the water statistics and water accounts currently compiled by Statistics Netherlands, the resulting indicators, and its uses for policy making and research.

From its inception in the early seventies, the focus of the water statistics programme has been on water pollution. Statistics on urban wastewater treatment as well as discharges by industries were developed that have become embedded in the national pollutant release & transfer register (PRTR). From the PRTR database, figures for (inter-)national reporting are retrieved as well as key indicators for the design and evaluation of water policies. Recently, PRTR figures have been used for the compilation of water accounts in order to assess the trends and effects of pollution abatement measures in all sectors of the economy.

During the last two decades, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has come into fashion in the Netherlands, followed by policies initiated under the umbrella of the European Water Framework Directive. As a result, the need for water data at sub-national level such as river basins has grown rapidly as for regional water balances. Also the interest in the economic dimension of water has grown. Hereto the compilation of (hybrid) water accounts was initiated which allow to calculate a diverse range of indicators such as water-use intensities by industries, or the costs of (regional) water infrastructure.

Finally, the effects of climate change place new demands on water statistics, as on scarcity of fresh water. One of the key issues for Dutch water policy is the protection against flooding. Recently, the share of the population and the productive economic capacity at risk of flooding has been calculated.

Keywords: Water statistics; Water pollution; Water use; Water accounts

Biography: Mr. Kees Baas has studied Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. After working one and a half year at the National Institute for Nature Conservation, he started working at Statistics Netherlands in the early nineties. Within Statistics Netherlands Kees Baas is responsible for the statistics on water pollution and waste water treatment. Together with other national experts, Kees is involved in the compilation of the national PRTR database on water emissions. In the period 2000-2002 Kees participated in the Eurostat Task Force for the revision of the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire 'Inland Waters'.