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Knowledge Must Flow: a project to stimulate the exchange and exposure of the existing knowledge of the agricultural measures that are needed to achieve the targets for Dutch water quality.


Dutch water policy is set out in the National Water Plan. The national government wishes to improve water quality by reducing the emission of polluting substances and to lay out water systems differently. Major elements of the National Water Plan are the river basin management plans, which contain the measures for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) for the 2009-2015 period. These include, for example, the construction of 2,400 kilometres of environmentally conducive water banks and over 630 fish passageways. But the plan also includes tackling the overflow of sewage drains, and improving the treatment of more than fifty water sewage plants.

With current efforts, the WFD water quality targets for the Netherlands for 2015 will not be realised. The Dutch government has therefore set aside EUR 75 million for innovations to ensure that the water quality targets formulated will be achieved after all. This had led to the WFD Innovation Programme, which runs from 2008 through 2011. 

Knowledge Must Flow is a project intended to enhance the exchange and exposure of the current body of knowledge regarding the agricultural projects of the WFD Innovation Programme.

Knowledge Must Flow

When will the WFD Innovation Programme be successful? The answer: when the projects lead to effective measures within their respective deadlines to make water cleaner. Success is more likely when the parties involved share more knowledge with each other and with end users. This requires mutual cooperation within the innovation programme. Agriculture has great impact on the quality of water; innovative measures are thus needed in this sector. The responsibility for coming up with ideas does not merely lie with the water or agricultural sectors or with the Dutch ministries. Instead, it is a joint task. Within the WFD Innovation Programme some EUR 13 million is intended for projects related to agriculture. Knowledge Must Flow was started to ensure that these projects lead to exchange and exposure of knowledge, thus enlarging the chance of success.

Exchange of knowledge

Knowledge Must Flow focuses initially on the various parties that execute the projects belonging to the WFD Innovation Programme. These include Dutch research and consultancy experts, government bodies and farmers. This can lead to synergy between all the players involved in the innovation projects affecting agriculture.

In addition, Knowledge Must Flow intends to stimulate the project participants to let their expertise flow towards the end users. Intended results include:

  • project measures that are actually implemented by end users;
  • support among end users for the measures that yield the most result;
  • optimal spinoff of WFD agricultural projects to policymakers, who comprehend the project results and include them in their own plans;
  • good advice to government bodies on how they can stimulate successful innovation.
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