Propositions about abolishing guaranteed seats for nature management and farmers, or pumping up ground and surface water. Chances are you have no idea what it’s about. “The water boards are quite technical,” says political scientist Harmen Binnema, who wrote a book about water boards and democracy.
“I can imagine that people find it complicated what they should vote for,” Binnema continues. Still, there is certainly something to choose from. “For example: how high should the groundwater be in agricultural areas? How ambitious are water boards regarding climate change? And how far do you want to go in cleaning the water?”
Quite difficult if you have never delved into it. “It is complicated to collect information and it also requires some technical knowledge. There are also people who say: we should leave it to the experts of the water board, but we cannot leave it entirely to them, because then it is not democratic,” says the political scientist.
To give you a helping hand, we have submitted several propositions to Anieke Kranenburg, leader of Water Naturally in Twente (at the Vechtstream water board). For example, the statement: ‘As a water authority, focus on: core tasks (water management, purification, and safety) vs. a broader package (including recreation, energy and climate).’
“Parties differ in opinion on what exactly the tasks of a water board are,” explains Kranenburg. “On the one hand, you have parties who say that the water board should only spend tax money on statutory tasks such as purifying sewage water, but on the other hand, you have parties who believe that the water board should also contribute to sustainable energy from sewage water or the construction of fishing piers. .”
Then the statement: ‘Achieving the European water quality goals in 2027 at all costs. Agree Disagree.’ Kranenburg explains that there are quality goals. You can look them up online. “Some parties believe that these goals are not realistic or practically feasible, while other parties would like to stick to this ambition and avoid high fines from the EU.”
And that’s just the beginning. Do you want to delve into it more? Then you should start with a voting guide, advises political scientist Binnema. “No matter how difficult those statements are, they can be wise. You can also go to the websites of the parties and of the Union of Water Boards.”
Party leader Kranenburg agrees. “The voting guide is a great first step for people to familiarize themselves with. But also look at the parties’ videos and sites: in what areas do they differ?”
If you really have no idea, according to Binnema you can go for the party you vote for for the Provincial Council. “If you don’t have time to delve into it, that’s a kind of second best. If you normally vote CDA, then that is somewhat similar to CDA for the water boards. The disadvantage is that you miss all kinds of parties that only work with the water boards participate.”
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