Freshwater supply at national and regional level
Via an extensive infrastructure of canals, streams, lakes and pumping stations, the freshwater supply in the Netherlands aims to support a wide range of functions such as the supply of drinking-water and agricultural water, nature, recreation and the urban water supply. Climate change will lead to a rise in sea level and both higher and lower discharges from the rivers Rhine and Meuse. This will mean a substantial change in hydrodynamics and the salinity situation in various regions of the Netherlands. Together with the climatic effects on the weather (rainfall and evaporation extremes) this will have a direct consequence on the drinking-water and agricultural water supply, nature, recreation and other functions related to river water and groundwater. Proposed management measures (higher water level in the IJsselmeer, salinisation of the Volkerak-Zoommeer, transportation of freshwater, etc.) can increase and/or reduce these adverse consequences locally. Therefore, a significant task lies ahead to achieve an adequate and sustainable adaptation strategy for the water supply; a strategy that supports as much as possible the various functions related to river water and groundwater, but which also takes into account the quality of the water and its ecological values.
Various implementation and research programmes on the freshwater supply are currently underway. Knowledge development within this theme aims at the scientific underpinning of sustainable and innovative regional and national adaptation strategies for the long-term water supply and water quality. Contact will need to be maintained with ongoing and planned research to ensure that it supplements and deepens understanding.
The development of an adaptation strategy for the water supply and water quality is not only an important task for the Netherlands. The water supply in almost every location on earth is influenced by climate change. Studies are being carried out into how society can deal with water more efficiently around the whole globe. This is why an international orientational study into this issue is so essential for this theme.
- In what way can the water supply be organised in a robust fashion so that we can flexibly anticipate a wide range of potential effects of climate change?
- What opportunities are offered by a decrease in the demand for water and/or the reuse of water for the freshwater supply in the long-term?
- What are the possibilities and limitations of bringing in freshwater from elsewhere and/or the storage/buffering of surplus water for the water supply?
- What possibilities are offered by water-technological and organisational measures to maintain and increase water quality and ecology?
- How can we adapt to and deal with periods of water shortage and fluctuations in water quality?
- How effective are these prospects for action in relation to the regional and national water supply and water quality risks?
- What can the Netherlands learn from the way other nations deal with these problems?
A Consortium on Climate-proof fresh water supply was formed in 2010. The aim of this Consortium research programme is to develop robust, flexible and long-term solutions from a local to regional perspective, which can contribute to successful strategies to bridge the growing mismatch between demand and supply of fresh water (quantity and salinity) in the changing Dutch Delta. The central issue is:
- what are opportunities and adaptation strategies for fresh water supply and water quality in the Netherlands, given the changing physical boundary conditions in evaporation, precipitation, river discharges, sea level rise and salt water intrusion?
View the list with CcSP and KfC projects with regard to this Research theme.