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Belgium

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Area: 5888268 km2
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Cities:
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $4,670,637,671.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $69,825,917.00 - [1%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $75,330,162.00 - [2%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $750,678,310.00 - [16%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $11,098,219.00 - [0%]
  • Water Scarcity: $2,985,265,452.00 - [64%]
  • Water Management: $778,439,612.00 - [17%]

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Belgium’s water resources are distributed among five river basins, the two main ones being the Maas river (known in French as the Meuse) and the Scheldt (known in French as the Escaut); both have their source in France and flow into the sea in the Netherlands. The major aquifers are located in Wallonia. Belgium does not face water stress, despite its high density of population. Internal water availability is around 12,000 million m³/year (average 1990- 2004), or 1,168 m³/capita/year. The yield of groundwater is around 900 million m³, exploited at a rate of 75 per cent. This picture hides strong regional disparities, with the north distinct from the south. Wallonia satisfies 55 per cent of the country’s drinking water, but includes only 37 per cent of the population. Flanders and Brussels are dependent on drinking water from Wallonia, at levels of 40 and 98 per cent respectively. The picture is further complicated by the strong dependence of the Netherlands on the Maas for its drinking water.

1.1.2.WATER USE Water Withdrawals in Belgium are 9.03 km3/yr. Distribution of water use by sector is: -agricultural use: 4 per cent; -domestic use: 11 per cent; -industrial use: 85 per cent.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The environment in Belgium is exposed to intense pressures from human activities such as urbanization, a dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding, and crop cultivation. Air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighbouring countries. Uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have previously slowed progress in tackling environmental challenges. The high population density, together with a very high degree of urbanization and industrialization, has had effects on the overall environmental quality. In the 1996 Habitat report it was stated that environmental degradation of rivers, watercourses and coastal areas of soil and subsoil (including aquifers), air, and green and forest areas were all serious problems in Belgium, as was waste. The oxygen condition of surface waters (O2, COD) is improving and nutrient concentrations (except for NO3-N) are falling. Several industrial sectors have made a major effort to reduce their wastewater loads, and the expansion of wastewater treatment plants has led to the reduction of wastewater loading by households. However, many measuring points do not yet satisfy basic quality standards and only about ten measuring points have a good physicochemical condition concerning all parameters. Industrial companies should be further disconnected from the sewage network and discharge permits should be adjusted in accordance with ecological standards. The additional connection of households to wastewater treatment plants should also further decrease wastewater loads. Nitrate concentrations remain a problem, for which agriculture, in particular, will have to find a solution. The proportion of measuring points with extremely bad to very bad biological quality (BBI) is falling sharply and the proportion of measuring points with good to very good BBI is increasing (30 per cent in 2002). However, according to the VLAREM standards, all measuring points must have a BBI of at least 7. In addition, the ‘standstill principle’ (no deterioration of the present situation) is often not applicable. There is still much to be done to achieve a good ecological situation in all watercourses by 2015 (European Water Framework Directive). Not only must the physico-chemical quality of the water be improved, but the quality of the sediment and the natural morphology of the watercourses must also be restored.

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Organizations in Belgium


Created in 2005, AquaFed is the International Federation of Private Water Operators. AquaFed represents more than 400 private operator providing water and sanitation services in more than 40 countries worldwide. According to GWI (2013), over 1 Billion people count on … Learn More

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel and hospitality companies and includes 1,440 hotels in operation and under development with more than 230,000 rooms and locations in 115 countries and territories. Learn More

Somos una organización social, ONGs, Fundación Privada, especializada en realización, diseño, planificación, ejecución, puesta en marcha y control de Proyectos Multivariable, Proyectos de Producción e Inversión social en las áreas de agro-desarrollos y comercialización de alimentos, trabajando esforzadamente para la … Learn More

The global food chain organisation for sustainable agriculture. Learn More

Projects in Belgium


THE CENTRAL CONCERN OF THE PRACTICE IS DESIGN EXCELLENCE. EVERY PROJECT IS BASED ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND EXPLORE APPLICATIONS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES TOGETHER WITH ANCIENT TRADITIONS TO FIND BETTER SOLUTIONS TO CONTEMPORARY NEEDS. Project Results Significant emergency water and sanitation … Learn More

Coca-Cola Enterprise's manufacturing facility in Chaudfontaine, Belgium, which solely produces Chaudfontaine spring water, is working with the Walloon Regional Authority and the University of Liege to protect the local natural hot spring from pollution. The project included a survey of … Learn More

CONNECTING is a project that will establish the EU as a global leader for climate resilience, collaborative processes, and innovation for Nature Based Solutions by drawing on the experiences from three selected front-running cities in this project: Genk (Belgium), Glasgow … Learn More

This project implements water stewardship practices, particularly water savings (by reducing demand) and nature-based solutions that will increase the water supply to the basin. Learn More

Despite increasing rates of access to improved water sources (68% in 1992-93 to 89.9% in 2015-16), India continues to face its worst water shortage in history. Approximately six hundred million people are affected by high to extreme water shortages, according … Learn More

Forests provide much of the world’s most biodiverse habitat on land, making their protection a priority for maintaining biodiversity. They also provide flood control and water regulation benefits. In 2011, we launched a new environmental initiative with funding to help … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

SuWaNu Europe is a project focused on the reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture. The reason behind is that wastewater when treated according to appropriate standards and methods has a strong potential to complement conventional water resources used in agricultural … Learn More

Our water stewardship strategy includes a goal to replenish the water used in our beverages, where it is sourced from areas of water stress, by 2020. In Belgium, our SVAs have shown that we operate in areas of water stress … Learn More

As part of CCEP’s This is Forward Sustainability Action Plan, we have a target to replenish 100% of the water used in our beverages, where it is sourced from areas of water stress, by 2020. In Belgium, our SVAs have … Learn More

Suggested Resources

View the full list of 300+ resources at the Water Stewardship Toolbox

WBCSD Learn More

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Learn More

CTCN; UNEP Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Water Witness International; WaterAid; WBCSD Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UNEP Learn More

IPIECA Learn More

Ceres Learn More

Ecolab Learn More

PRI; WWF Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Pegasys; Water Witness International; WWF Learn More

The World Bank Learn More

UNEP-DHI Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UN Water Learn More

OECD Learn More

UNICEF; WHO Learn More

River Threat Netwrok Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; WWF Learn More

Swedish Textile Water Initiative Learn More

Alliance for Water Stewardship Learn More

WaterAid Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

McKinsey Learn More

Toilet Board Coalition Learn More

Conservation International Learn More

U.S. General Services Administration Learn More

National Drought Mitigation Center Learn More

UNEP Learn More

USGS Learn More

UN Water Learn More

AT&T; EDF; Global Environmental Management Institute (GEMI) Learn More

OECD Learn More

SAI Platform Learn More

Lillian Holmes
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