NextGen by NextGen
10 October 2019

Dutch aquifers bank rainwater to help farmers avoid going bust

Climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages across Europe, but researchers in the Netherlands are hoping to ease pressure by generating a steady supply of clean water and heat from deep underground reservoirs known as aquifers....

Dutch aquifers bank rainwater to help farmers avoid going bust

Climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages across Europe, but researchers in the Netherlands are hoping to ease pressure by generating a steady supply of clean water and heat from deep underground reservoirs known as aquifers. In the west of the Netherlands there is a sea of greenhouses covering 4,500 hectares. Known as the Westland, this indoor farming hub is home to 670 horticulture companies growing a wide variety of flowers and crops, from aubergines and tomatoes to cucumbers. Water is crucial to growing these plants inside, but despite being in a country famous for rivers and canals the region still faces shortages. “We had a very dry summer,” said Klaasjan Raat, a water resource management expert at KWR, a Dutch sustainable water institute. “We had a lack of fresh groundwater which not only poses a risk to farmers, but also damages nature.” Westland pioneers a lot of sustainable water technology and researchers will now trial a new concept known as water banking, which deposits precipitation collected over the area during wetter periods and stores it in aquifers for a not-so-rainy day. The project is led by Raat who says this approach could help Westland balance demand in a climate change...

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