Policy implementation for European Union (EU)

Water Governance and Climate

Implementing the EU Water Framework Directive

European Union (EU)

Implementing the EU Water Framework Directive on water quality is an important condition for a sustainable future. Not just because the intrinsic value of nature itself, but water quality is also important for economic development and a healthy environment in which to live and work. Incorporating the European Water Framework Directive into national legislation and national, regional and local policy was an intensive and time-consuming process. We were actively involved in the organisational design of the implementation project and played a key role in the implementation itself.


Collaboration and stakeholder management

We managed the collaboration between all levels of government by aligning these processes over 60 water management plans. As such, the plans could be developed simultaneously in line with overall water policy. The water management plans encompass the water quality goals of each water body and financial arrangements to realise the measures in the next six years. Twynstra supported the policy-making at a regional level by organising stakeholder management in such a way that the plans were supported and accepted by stakeholders.


  • New institutional collaborations, resulting in smooth decision-making and a streamlined implementation process
  • A lot of time and effort was saved because plans were drawn up simultaneously
  • Aligned river basin management plans
  • Clarity about the goals and definitions
  • Knowledge sharing between water management districts, resulting in more effective and efficient measures.

New institutional arrangements

We combined a top-down directive (at a national level with strict deadlines and a clear definition of overall goals) with plenty of space for bottom-up input and initiatives (from a regional and local level). New institutional arrangements were made to facilitate this collaboration, with managers and consultants playing key roles in both designing and implementing this successful collaboration.

Our efforts were of great value to all partners involved in improving the water quality:

  • More distinctive roles and responsibilities in the management of water quality, which improves accountability
  • Improved collaboration and decision-making
  • Costs saved by sharing knowledge on the effectiveness of measures
  • New institutional arrangements that have also been used to address other water-related issues; following on from the issues of water quality, regional steering groups also discussed water quantity/allocation issues and water safety issues.