Water Boards Navigating the Transition Towards Circular Use of Dredged Sediment

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Abstract

This research critically examines Dutch water boards' journey towards the circular use of dredged sediment, set against the backdrop of water boards’ ambitious targets for circularity. Water boards, carrying the majority of responsibility for regional dredging, must navigate the surplus of approximately 40 million cubic meters of dredged material annually, with the declining availability of disposal permits. This has made the pursuit of circular solutions essential. Despite the central role of water boards in managing dredged material, particularly in freshwater contexts, there has been a lack of empirical study on how these actors are navigating and shaping the transition towards the repurposing of this material. As they confront this challenge, Dutch water authorities have set bold targets, aligning with national circularity goals: achieving 50% circularity by 2030 and reaching 100% by 2050.