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Activities in water extraction and groundwater protection areas

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

In the Netherlands, the provincial authorities establish land use regulations in water extraction areas, groundwater protection areas and drilling exclusion zones. These environmental regulations are laid down in Provincial Environmental Acts (Provinciale Omgevingsverordeningen, POVs).

  • A water extraction area is protected by strict regulations. Only groundwater can be extracted in this protected area.
  • A groundwater protection area is the area just outside the water extraction area. Although more activities are permitted in this area, certain types of industry are not allowed.
  • Drilling exclusion zones are usually just outside the groundwater protection area, where drilling and digging more than a few metres is banned.

You can find the location of water extraction areas and groundwater protection areas on the Atlas Leefomgeving map (Atlas of living environment, in Dutch). More information is available on the Dutch-language site of RWS environment.

Dispensation or notification

If you have planned works in water extraction areas, groundwater protection areas or drilling exclusion zones, you will either need dispensation or you must notify the provincial authority in advance. Blue road signs reading 'water extraction area' (waterwingebied) or 'groundwater protection area' (grondwaterbeschermingsgebied) are used to designate these areas.


Establishment in groundwater protection areas of companies with certain types of activities is not allowed. Please check with the relevant provincial authority (in Dutch) to which specific activities this applies.

Online application procedure via Message Box

You can apply for dispensation to carry out activities in a water extraction area or a groundwater protection area also online via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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