The Catchment Area Steering Committee (Vandoplandsstyregruppe, VOS)

Water management

The EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) came into force on the 22nd of December, 2000 and articulates the framework for the protection of water environments. The Environment Law implements the WFD in Danish law.

The purpose of the WFD is to secure protection for waterways, lakes, coastal stretches and groundwater, so that they are able to reach a minimum quality standard by December 2015. Potential deterioration of the conditions of the water area must also be avoided.

Despite three water management plans, Danish water environments consistently fail to live up to EU standards, and it is therefore necessary to make a significant effort to improve the water management plans. The management plans must minimize phosphorous and nitrogen and secure a better animal and plant life in Danish water environments.


Responsibility for water management plans – Catchment Area Steering Committee Randers Fjord

The water management plans were created by the Ministry for the Environment. The plans divide Denmark into three water districts, with an additional division between 23 main water catchments. For each of these catchments, the Ministry for the Environment has set an economic framework for establishing wetlands and river valley projects to remove nitrogen and phosphorous as per the draft state water plans.

Each of the main water catchments has a Catchment Area Steering Committee (VOS), made up of the municipalities in the catchment. The Gudenå is in water catchment 1.5, Randers Fjord. The thirteen municipalities in the Randers Fjord catchment have decided that the Gudenå Committee shall also assume the role of VOS. The Committee’s tasks with regards to the water catchment are therefore a permanent point on the agenda for the Gudenå Committee meetings.

Along with the municipalities in the Gudenå Committee, South and North Jutland municipalities participate in VOS, and Ikast-Brande, Århus, Vejle, and Odder municipalities are able to participate if they should wish to.

VOS produce water catchment plans that indicate possible wetland and river valley projects that can remove phosphorous and nitrogen, in addition to indicating the costs associated with these projects. VOS decides which projects will be carried out, they then undertake preliminary research and ensure that these projects come to fruition. The relevant municipalities can then apply in order of priority of the projects to the Danish Ministry of the Environment (Miljøministeriet). For every project, one municipality is responsible and applies for permission from the national government to carry out the project.

The Danish Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen) has set a goal for the total removal of nitrogen in Randers Fjord to 91 tons per year. 78 million DKK are set aside to reach this goal.

Read more about the water management plans and wetlands projects on the Ministry of the Environment’s webpage.



The Gudenå Committee’s consultation response for the water management plans for Randers Fjord:

The water management plan for Randers Fjord has undergone a public consultation and the Gudenå Committee has submitted a consultation response for the plan. Municipal representatives from almost all of the catchment municipalities have collaborated to produce the consultation response, and twelve of the thirteen municipalities in the Randers Fjord catchment area have joined the Gudenå Committee’s consultation response. Though it has yet to receive approval in the Gudenå Committee, as a whole, the consultation response has been approved by each of the municipalities’ city councils.

Click here to see the Gudenå Committee’s consultation response to the water management plan for Randers Fjord. (Danish)

Click here to see the press release regarding the submission of the consultation response. (Danish)

The Gudenå Committee has also submitted suggestions and comments to the national government on behalf of the member municipalities and other municipalities that run into Randers Fjord, under the public ideas phase for the governmental water management planning in 2007.


Click here to see the Gudenå Committee’s remarks to the idea phase. (Danish)