In Flanders, the Government has recently established an innovative policy framework to preserve the water storage capacity in flood-prone areas. In this context, the concept of ‘Signal Areas’ (signaalgebieden) has been created. These areas are still undeveloped areas with a hard planning destination (residential and industrial areas) located in flood-prone areas. The framework outlines in what way one needs to deal with the flood risk in these areas. In order to implement this policy relating to signal areas in spatial planning, a recent draft decree has introduced water sensitive open-air areas where a relative ban on building applies. The aim is to achieve a prompt, effective implementation of the new water storage policy on the field based on a programmatic approach. In this contribution, the author will provide an insight into the legal design of the above-mentioned concepts and instruments, and how they can contribute to a stronger linkage between water management and spatial planning.