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Better (drinking) water quality thanks to WATERPROTECT

Guaranteed drinking water quality is of vital importance in daily life. That is why VMM participates in the Waterprotect project, which aims to reduce the contamination of drinking water sources.

WATERPROTECT: What and why?

Guaranteed drinking water quality is of vital importance in daily life. However, more than half of the rivers and water bodies in Europe are of poor quality and 25% are in poor chemical condition. Despite stepped-up policy efforts over the last 30 years tLogo waterprotecto improve the quality of drinking water, there is a clear need for renewed commitment. The key challenge in this respect is reducing the pollution of drinking water sources due to the use of pesticides and fertilisers in the agricultural sector.


The overall aim of WATERPROTECT is to contribute to the implementation of innovative agricultural systems that should benefit water and drinking water quality. Towards this end, a number of sub-objectives have been identified:

  • Development of a multi-actor approach in 7 test areas in Europe where water is polluted with nutrients and pesticides. Farmers, government departments, researchers... will all work together to reduce pollution
  • Development of new models for the effective protection of drinking water sources
  • Harmonisation of datasets on pesticides and nutrients
  • Identification of innovative agricultural systems that benefit water quality
    Application of the acquired knowledge in other regions in Europe, on the basis of which a constructive contribution can be made to amending current legislation and drafting new European legislation on the protection of drinking water quality

During this project, VMM will provide a dataset of pesticides in the water catchment area of the Bollaertbeek-Yser Basin (one of the seven test areas).  Based on these data and those of the other Flemish partners, farmers in this catchment area can be approached individually and targeted awareness-raising campaigns initiated.


The WATERPROTECT project has been set up under the Horizon 2020 research programme of the European Commission.  The project is part of the work programme: 'food safety, sustainable logo horizon 2020agriculture and forestry, marine and inland water quality, and bioeconomics'. It addresses a specific topic: 'improving agriculture and augmenting drinking water supplies'.

Duration: 01/04/2017 – 01/04/2020
Type of project: Horizon 2020




Vlaamse   Milieumaatschappij

Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V.


Instituut voor Landbouw- en Visserijonderzoek

Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening

The European Water Partnership

European Federation of Bottled Water


TEAGASC – Agriculture and Food Development Authority

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd.

Wexford County Council


Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

University of Copenhagen

Landbo Limfjord

Skive Kommune

Danish Waterworks


Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore

Associazione Piace Cibo Sano

Agenzia Regionale Prevenzione E Ambiente Dell'Emilia-Romagna


Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones   Cientificas

Communitat d'Usuaris d'Aigues de la Vall Baixa i Delta del Llobregat

Aigues de Barcelona, Empresa Metropolitana de Gestio del Cicle Integral de L'Aigua Sa

Consorci del Parc Agrari del Baix Llobregat


Panstowy Instytut Geologiczny – Panstowy Instytut Badawczy

Instytut Technologiczno-Przyrodniczy

Zachodniopomorski Uniwersytet Technologiczny W Szczecinie

 United Kingdom

University of Ulster


Ecologic Association

Universitatea Technica Cluj-Napoca

VMM contributes to the international policymaking and the implementation of environmental obligations.

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Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) covers three main areas: water, air quality and climate (adaptation).