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The European environment – state and outlook 2010

The European environment – state and outlook 2010

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National and regional story (SOER 2010) - River contracts

River contracts in the Walloon Region

Key message

River contracts bring stakeholders together in order to define a programme for restoring watercourses and their surrounding areas. 

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River contracts in the Walloon Region

River contracts are participative management structures whose aim is to bring together everyone working in the same water catchment basin, whether they come from a political, administrative, financial, associative or scientific background, in order to define a programme for restoring watercourses and their surrounding areas in a consensual way.

Since the creation of river contracts by the Walloon Environment Minister in 1993, 14 river committees have been formed, working on 21 river basins covering 95 % of the Walloon territory. Furthermore, 214 Walloon municipalities (on 262) have become partners in a river contract. The total land area covered by signatory municipalities is ± 14,500 km2, or 85 % of the Region.

The Walloon Government gives subsidies to river contracts on certain conditions. Regional involvement is limited, for example to the total amounts allocated by the municipalities and provinces, with a maximum annual amount fixed per sub-catchment (the total value of subsidies for 2009 is EUR 1 666 000).

The ’river committee‘, made up of administrations managing regional, provincial and municipal watercourses, draws up and implements a programme of actions aiming to restore, protect and emphasise the water resources of the basin. Within the framework of their triennial programmes of actions, the river contracts currently incorporate more than 5 400 actions, two-thirds of which are intended to practically preserve and improve the qualitative (physical, chemical and biological), quantitative, historical and aesthetic aspects of watercourses. Thus, they contribute significantly to the watercourses reaching a good status by 2015, in accordance with the objectives set by the European water framework directive 2000/60/EC.

In its projects to inform and raise awareness among the general public, the river contract is also a point of reference for the distribution of public enquiries relating to water management in the Walloon Region.