Name of the organisation: Vereniging van Vlaamse Polders en Wateringen (VVPW)
Number of members: 52 of the 63 polders and wateringen are members of the VVPW.
Stakeholders in board: Landowners
Tasks: Water quantity, flood defence, drainage, environmental protection, maintenance
Financing: Local taxes, subsidies from municipalities and provinces for maintenance, compulsory landowners’ fees, central government subsidy for investment in major projects
Polders and ‘wateringen’ are among the oldest and most characteristic public authorities in Flanders. The first watering is mentioned as early as 1183. According to legislation, their task has been to protect their management area from water surpluses and assure a favourable water regime and hygienic conditions for agriculture. This history shows that agriculture is one of the main interests of polders and wateringen.
Today, they focus on integrated water resources management, which also includes nature protection, fisheries, tourism and drinking water supply. At present, there are 63 polders and wateringen covering a total area of 326.391 hectares.
Polders and wateringen are functional democracies. Stakeholders bear the costs through taxation and have a say in the assembly. This is the triple ‘interest-pay-say’ system.