Will you be voting in the Dutch water board elections?
Today, March 20, the Dutch water board elections will take place simultaneously with the Provincial Council elections. During the water board elections, anyone over 18 years old who is a resident of a Dutch Water authority territory on March 20, with either a Dutch residence permit, Dutch nationality or EU nationality, can vote. Will you be exercising this right?
What do water boards actually do?
Water boards are not just responsible for ensuring you have access to clean drinking water - they also take care of several other tasks. For example, water boards are responsible for controlling the water level via pumping stations and locks, and managing dikes.
They are also in charge of treating wastewater and nature management in and around bodies of water. Additionally, they also monitor the quality of water at swimming locations. In order to carry out these tasks, water boards levy taxes.
Increasing water board taxes
Over the last four years, taxes paid to water boards have increased by nine percent, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The increase in taxes is due to the need for extra funding to address challenges like more frequent droughts and rising water levels.
Each water board, of which there are 21, sets its own rates. These rates are based on factors such as how much water there is in an area, if the area is next to the sea or a large river and the extent of urbanisation and location compared to the sea level, amongst other things.
There are a few water taxes used to finance water boards: water system tax, water purification tax and water pollution tax. The area seeing the greatest increase in water taxes is Rijnland, where the expected income for water purification tax has risen by more than 28 percent compared to four years ago. In the majority of other areas, the water system and pollution taxes have increased more than the water purification tax.
Vote for your water board
As expats and internationals, we have the opportunity to vote for the water board in our area. Our votes can make a difference, which is why it is important to exercise your right. If you are eligible to vote, you will have received your voting pass (stempas) in the post. This year, many areas have provided a voting guide in English; so take a look before you vote.