Director Water systems and water chain | Water Authority Limburg (Waterschap Limburg)
1. What are in your view the economic values of water?
Clean and enough water are essential for life. We depend on it. Climate change makes it more visible: periods of drought and periods of floods threaten economic activities. For instance for farmers in the south of the Netherlands. The water system was designed 50 years ago to supply water to farm lands, nowadays it is also used for the transport of rainwater to the rivers. In this respect the economic value of water is closely related to its availability.
2. Should we always look at water-related problems from an economic perspective, and should that be a deciding factor?
No there is more. A sustainable future needs clean and healthy environment, including water. When the environment gets polluted, we will see this reflected in the water quality. Without clean resources life will be much more difficult.
3. Is the so-called circular economy a challenge or a solution for the water sector, and the Water Authorities in particular?
The circular economy is essential for mankind: resources should be available for future generations too. We live to give life. Of course it is a challenge: we are used to get rid of our pollutants and dirt by flushing it away to the rivers and the seas. Nowadays, we even produce clean water from wastewater and use the cleaned water for our water environment. The removed substances should really be used to make the economy more circular. Water Authorities do want to take a leading role in this.
4. Should universities offer students courses dealing with economic policy instruments?
We need to integrate economic instruments, technological developments, and a mindset that our world is our heritage to our children. We should leave a better place and use all instruments to go into that direction.
5. Should we familiarise water professionals, authorities, and students with the economic analyses of water-related issues?
Water is essential for everything, we should really familiarise the intrinsic value, which is even higher than the economic value.