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The current Dutch cabinet wants to see CO2 emissions in the Netherlands in the year 2030 reduced by 49%, compared with 1990 levels. This is a larger reduction than has been agreed at the EU level.

On its own, central government cannot overcome challenges such as rising CO2 emissions, more expensive and ever scarcer fossil fuels and loss of balance in nature.

Rijkswaterstaat is therefore keen to work with citizens, businesses, sister authorities and other organisations. It was for this purpose that the Green Deal approach in 2011 was set up. It gives innovative, sustainable community initiatives the opportunity to develop and expand. These are arrangements between central government and businesses, civil society organisations and other authorities designed to tackle specific sustainability problems.

One example of a successful project is the Green Deal on Energy with Water management organisations and central government.

Water management organisations want to be energy neutral in 2040. By 2020 they set the aim for themselves to produce 40% of their own energy demand. Within the green deal the organisations involved – Rijkswaterstaat, Union of Watermanagement organisations and STOWA (knowledge institute for regional water management) -  explored the options throughout the whole water supply chain to develop new sources of energy production such as redeeming energy from surface water or exploiting floating solar panels. This research was done by consultancy and engineering company TAUW. Together with businesses, knowledge institutes and with support of the central government these new techniques were piloted. The green deal ended in 2016 but the development of the various solutions continued and by 2018 the water management organisations already produced 38% of their own energy demand. As a follow-up, in 2019 a new green deal started on the exploration of aquathermy.

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