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Climate and drinking water

A joint study by RIVM and the water, subsurface and infrastructure research institute Deltares published in October 2012 showed that climate change may cause the quality of surface water in the Netherlands to deteriorate to such an extent by 2050 that it will no longer be suitable as a source of drinking water.

The climate scenarios of the Dutch meteorology institute KNMI indicate that extremely long dry periods may arise, during which less water will flow through the rivers and discharges from sewage treatment plants, agriculture and industry will have more effect on the water quality due to less dilution.
The results apply to nearly all locations in the Netherlands where surface water is extracted for the production of drinking water. About 40 per cent of the Dutch population get their drinking water from this source. Calculations show that the dry periods can last from several days to several months.
The ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is working with all parties responsible for the provision of drinking water, such as water companies and provincial authorities, to try to find solutions to this possible future problem.