The cabinet wants to raise the groundwater level in order to reduce CO2 emissions. The level must also be raised to prevent the subsidence of houses. Another blow to dairy farmers, because it is more difficult for cows to walk around on wet pastures and tractors cannot drive.

    Farmer Jan de Wit from Assendelft – Image: Johan Wieland/NH News

    “This is the umpteenth thing that will come our way that will not make us happier,” says Farmer Jan de Wit from Assendelft. “I think that will be the final blow for many colleagues. It will no longer be possible for them to farm.”


    A new package of measures to reduce nitrogen emissions is expected tomorrow, reports De Telegraaf. Raising the groundwater level in peat meadow areas to reduce CO2 emissions is one of these measures. If peat is left dry for too long, it will rot. It also emits greenhouse gases. In North Holland you will find peat meadow areas especially near Assendelft and Westzaan.

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    Soil type map – Wageningen University

    In addition, the raised water level also helps against the subsidence of houses. When the groundwater level is low, foundations become dry, which reduces the bearing capacity. In 2018 it was already threatening a handful of houses in Zaanstad to subside.

    Farmers get the short end of the stick

    “When the water level rises, the land becomes wetter,” Farmer Jan de Wit from Assendelft summarizes. “That would mean that you can only go on the land months later to do your spring work.”

    “I think it will no longer be possible for many colleagues to farm”

    Johan de Wit, farmer from Assendelft

    De Wit explains: If the water level rises, and the land becomes wetter, it will take a lot longer for that water to ‘sag’. That can take months, according to de Wit. Only when the water has settled can you take the cattle and the tractor onto the pasture. In addition, according to De Wit, it affects the quality of the grass.

    The neck blow

    According to De Wit, raising the water level will affect the carrying capacity of the country in such a way that it may be the last straw for some colleagues. “I’m on the good side of Assendelft, so I don’t have that much risk,” he admits. “But I think it will no longer be possible for many colleagues to farm.”

    De Wit does not hide the fact that something has to be done. “But we have to talk about that with each other and then think solution-oriented. You need years for that.”

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