Rising to the Challenge: The Dutch Battle Against The Water Crisis
As long as the country exists, water has always been a constant in the Dutch narrative. For our low-lying nation, water has been both an opponent and a life-giving force. The struggle against flooding through sea-level rise is ever present, but more recently, the country has had to tackle a new frontier: having enough freshwater to meet the needs of its people, agriculture, and industry. This calls for revising its centuries-old strategies focussed on keeping the land dry, preparing for both extremes – with Dutch innovation is finding ways to turn crisis into opportunity.
An Unfolding Crisis
Concerns around the country’s freshwater supply are rising – with alarming findings in the RIVMs (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) most recent report from April 2023. The predicted demand for drinking water would outgrow the supply by 2030, a new reality driven by economic growth, population increase, and climate change coming together.
The challenge varies across regions. While the country as a whole sustained enough water reserves in 2020, in certain provinces like Gelderland, Overijssel, Groningen, and parts of Zuid-Holland, the reserves were stretched too thin, facing a shortage already. Overall, these regional differences call for region specific but most importantly timely solutions to manage the future of water supply. Overall, the RIVM predicts that, by 2030, 1.4 billion cubic meters of water will be needed – 100 million cubic meters more than in 2020 – calling for awareness and action.
HydroLogic: Turning Data into Solutions
Enter HydroLogic, a Delft based company fully dedicated to making water management climate friendly. For that, smart technology is used, including advanced data analytics, helping everyone, from farmers to urban planners, make smarter decisions about using water. By predicting water needs and managing distribution, HydroLogic helps ensure that every drop counts.
Grohe: Implementing Sustainable Changes at home
Alongside companies focusing on broader structural changes, existing corporations like Grohe are innovating on a consumer-product level, helping households reduce their water usage. The firm has launched its first Cradle to Cradle Certified® products, designed to reuse their components at the end of their life cycle in a closed loop. These products are designed for recycling, promoting a circular economy. The company’s EcoJoy technology aims to significantly reduce household water consumption up to 50%, without giving in on experience. The near 100-year old company proves to stay up to speed with the demands of our time and is thereby showing that every sector connected to this vital resource can and should up their performance.
Water Managements Next Wave
This next chapter is setting new standards for sustainability in water management, calling for industries, officials, farmers and scientists alike to play a proactive role – connecting the dots to do their part in the bigger picture.
Importantly, current company and public efforts are guided by the Dutch government’s embrace of the circular economy, a strategy that aims to build a sustainable economy that respects the limits of our planet. Already an expert in water drainage, the Netherlands is now increasingly mastering water retention practices as the whole world is facing climate-induced droughts. New future proof strategies are popping up at every level, changing both land and practices to better handle their water. From farmers switching up their watering techniques to cities replacing concrete with more permeable materials.
In conclusion, the Netherlands is writing an inspiring story of how to tackle one of the most important issues of our time. As we face a future of climate uncertainty, a look at past and present efforts reminds us that with resilience and innovativeness, we can shape a sustainable future.