Hoogheemraadschap van Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard
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The Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard District Water Board

‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ is a District Water Board. It’s mission is to ensure dry feet and clean water in its control area. The Schieland en Krimpenerwaard control area stretches from Rotterdam, Zoetermeer to Schoonhoven. Within that area, the Water Board is responsible for flood control (maintenance of the dikes), water quantity (correct water levels), the water quality of the surface water and the treatment of urban wastewater. Moreover ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ is also responsible for the maintenance of local roads in the Krimpenerwaard. ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’  is not responsible for drinking water production, swimming water quality or the sewer system. This is the realm of water supply companies, provinces and municipalities. The responsibilities of ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ are restricted to surface water quality.

Water Board

A District Water Board is a decentralised public authority, that can be compared with provinces and local council. It is an independent organisation with defined legal responsebilities and a self-supporting financial system.














































The control area of ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ can be found in the province Zuid Holland and roughly covers a triangle between Rotterdam, Gouda and Zoetermeer. There are both rural and agricultural areas (dairy farmers) and residential areas




The control erea of Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard

  • Size: ca. 33,700 ha
  • Pumping stations: 53 
  • Municipalities: 17 
  • Waste water treatment plants: 9 
  • River dikes: 70.9 kms
  • Roads: 130 kms
  • Local dikes and quays: 220.8 kms 
  • Bicycle tracks/paths/trails: 30.7 kms


The greater part of the area is situated below sea level. You can even find the lowest spot in the Netherlands here: NAP -6.76 (‘Normal Amsterdam Level’). The many dikes, weirs, locks, pumping stations, dams, canals and ditches protect the area from flooding.

Water quality

'Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ is responsible for the quality of the surface water (open water) in the area. Urban waste water is pumped to one of the nine water treatment plants where it is purified before discharge into the surface water. Other activities to improve the water quality include dredging and the construction of waterways with ecological embankments. These embankments are no longer

steep but they have slopes  and are covered with water plants . This results in an attractive living environment for a variety of animals (especially fish) and plants that help improve the water quality.

As our open water is accessible to the public the Water Board has set regulations which its inhabitants must respect. An important law on water quality is the Law on the Pollution of Surface Water. ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ sees to it that this law is respected.

Water boards are not responsible for the quality of drinking water and swimming water.

Water level

'Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ regulates the water level in waterways which run through the area. An extensive system of waterways, brooks, canals, ditches, ponds, and storage reservoirs is used to store water in wet seasons and supply water in dry periods. The main part of our area lies beneath sea level and consists polders and reclaimed land. Pumping stations ensure that the water is always at the required level .

Because of the different ways the land is used (agriculture, urbanisation), the area knows 184 fixed water levels as the water level has a direct influence on the use of the land.

On the West side of the Hollandsche IJssel, ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ uses a ‘boezemwater’ system (a two-step water pumping system). Here the water is pumped from the polder to the storage canal and from there into the river. East of the Hollandsche IJssel (in the Krimpenerwaard), a one step system is used so the water is pumped directly from the polder into the river or, if more convenient into ditches. In time this method of pumping will be replaced by the generally accepted two step pumping system.  

Water boards are not responsible for the level of ground water.


The area of ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ lies below sea level. Without dikes this area would be inhabitable; it would be flooded. ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ ensures that the dikes are kept high enough and stable.

There are several types of dikes:

  • Main water defences: dikes alongside a river
  • Quays : embankments or dikes alongside other waterways
  • Natural water defences: that serve as emergency water barriers

In order to be able to secure the stability of the dikes  ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ has set rules and regulations for activities and objects near or on water defences. These regulations are bundled in an official document called ‘Keur’. If the weather forecasts indicate  extremely high water levels and storm the dike wardens are mobilised .


In the Krimpenerwaard, ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ is responsible for maintenance of roads outside the town centres, with the exception of provincial roads. This means that the Water Board looks after road safety, road accessibility and road environment. So road and shoulder planning receives considerable attention. Another important part of road works is combating slippery roads.

Spatial planning

People need space to live, work and enjoy leisure time. The challenge of spatial planning is to create sustainable areas for these purposes though the space is limited and the people concerned have different interests. The blue lines and areas on the map can help solve this puzzle. Water is everywhere. If we do not give the water enough space it will take that space by force. ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ plays an advisory role in spatial planning and is involved in project development from the very beginning. In order to incorporate water in new neighbourhoods and recreational areas in the best way, the Water Board puts considerable time and energy in public and stakeholder participation. But there is more: the Water Board also helps decide the best spot for new neighbourhoods. Thus problems can be anticipated and prevented and everyone will profit from that. People can live and recreate safely, despite the fact that most of the area lies below sea level. ‘Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard’ never sleeps and works hard to secure dry feet and clean water in its control area.





















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