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Collaboration on waste water pays off

Waste water processing can be improved if the water board and the municipal authorities work together more efficiently. It results in a better service to the citizens and costs will rise less quickly in the longer term. So how do you go about this ideal collaboration in a complex administrative environment? The Delfland Water Board already knows how this works and it is likely that more companies will be inspired to follow suit.

One of the key tasks of Delfland is waste water purification. Until recently this was limited to transport and waste water purification but in the future the tasks will expand within the waste water chain. A start was made with the improvement of collaboration with the municipal authorities through looking at all the investment plans and searching for optimisation. That generated a considerable saving and quickly a plan emerged to invest this joint financial gain in joint innovation projects that, in turn, required the formation of a shared vision.

Bringing interests together

It is easier said than done to forge collaboration within the waste water chain since there is a tremendous number of interests that must be brought together. In the Netherlands the sewage systems are managed by 433 municipalities and waste water purification by 27 water boards.The Delfland Water Board (a water board) has 12 municipalities within its management domain.

Coaching by TNO

To ensure that the collaborative process is optimised, Delfland opted to receive coaching by TNO. In this form of cooperation Delfland gains optimum profit from the knowledge and expertise that TNO has in instigating change in administrative processes. Delfland is has initiated the cooperative process itself and where necessary TNO helps in the cooperation and negotiation, such as organizing several workshops to arrive at a shared vision of the waste water chain. TNO also coaches Delfland personally where needed.


The supervision of the process by TNO at Delfland works. The result is a special cooperation within the waste water chain whereby innovations can be realised within the administrative context. This approach creates support to actually put innovation into practice. It is only when there is this support that innovation can be properly taken on board and integrated. Then real innovation is happening. If this approach to innovation and cooperation with TNO appeals to you, Adriaan Slob will be happy to tell you more.

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