No mining activities in drinking water areas
22 juni 2016

No mining activities in drinking water areas

Next week, the House of Representatives will discuss the amendment to the Mining Act during a plenary debate. This amendment ensures that spatial choices can be made for the use of the subsoil. Since the subsoil is crucial for the drinking water supply, Vewin advocates that mining activities be excluded in drinking water areas. This will ensure that we can make the drinking water areas safe now and in the future in the Netherlands.

Around 60% of our drinking water is made up of groundwater. Activities in the (deep) subsoil form a risk to an increasing degree for the sources for the drinking water preparation. Extra precautions during mining activities are, therefore, needed and certainly if risks are still insufficiently known. Drinking water is vital and has been earmarked as of 'national importance'. Mining activities may not, therefore, take place as a precaution in areas that play a role in the drinking water supply; the risks of shale gas extraction (fracking) and other mining activities are too big for this. This concerns groundwater protection areas but also (future) strategic and national groundwater reserves, intake areas and all boring-free zones over the full depth of the subsoil.

The amendment of the Mining Act ensures that specific areas can be excluded from mining activities in advance in the spatial policy. These exclusions must, however, first be included in the Subsoil Structural Vision (Structuurvisie Ondergrond, STRONG) on which the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is currently working. Next, this exclusion must be enshrined in a general administrative measure (Order in Council, AMvB).

The drinking water sector is concerned about mining activities because we currently have no certainty whatsoever that this exclusion will be arranged in STRONG.

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