With this new Agricultural Water Management lectureship, the University of Applied Sciences aims to focus on quantitative and qualitative water management in the Dutch countryside. For example, this might focus on: reducing surface water pollution by the agricultural sector, raising the water level in peatland areas, and preventing drought damage to crops in sandy areas.
Soil and water have a great deal of common ground, so the new lecturer will work closely with the Sustainable Soil Management lecturer. The expectation is that the two lectureships will complement each other. In addition, Van der Kooij will seek co-operation with parties such as LTO Noord and the Flevolands Agrarisch Collectief (Flevoland Agricultural Collective). Both parties recently presented their respective 'Flevoland Green Papers', in which water measures play an important role. There will also be collaborations with Wageningen University and various other universities.
With this lectureship, Van der Kooij wants to make a contribution to sustainable agriculture by encouraging farmers (and future farmers) to take their own measures by giving them insight into the consequences that their activities have. Within five years, he aims to have at least 100 farmers leading the way by setting an example in the field of sustainable water management. The new lecturer expects that farmers will make changes to their behaviour if they are given the opportunity to regulate the water levels in their own ditches, as well as given insight into the water quality thereof. If the farmers are then given the opportunity to share best practices with each other and these are introduced into the education system, Van der Kooij expects that changes will take place. He believes strongly that the focus should be on encouraging good practice, not on punishing wrongdoing.
Sustainable water management
Van der Kooij has extensive experience in the field of cultural and nature technology. He studied Cultural Technology at Wageningen University before earning his PhD in spatial planning and landscape culture. He taught in this discipline for many years at Aeres University of Applied Sciences Dronten, as well as being actively involved with the Nature and Environment Federation Flevoland and the Zuiderzeeland Water Board.