Water quality: of vital importance

Water holds a different value for everyone and each application places specific demands on the availability and quality of water. Scientists from Wageningen University & Research know these different water values and are knowledge partner for business, farmers, governments and land managers.

We find solutions for purifying wastewater and recapturing valuable substances from water for industries and water boards. For suppliers of medicines and crop protection products, agriculture and water managers, we research the effects of pollution on water quality and the dependent flora and fauna. Our models predict the amount of water for agriculture, nature and drinking water supply.

Wageningen University & Research sets itself apart by its systemic approach: which amount and quality ofter is required where? And could we achieve better water quality in a smarter and cheaper way? The demands placed by industry on water quality are dependent on the specific application: at times, it needs to be cleaner than drinking water, at other times a less strict norm is possible and costs may be saved on water purification.

Also, we research and predict the effects of pollution on the ecosystem, for example the effects of medicinal waster and nutrients. Our knowledge about the interaction between plants, soil and hydrology plays an important part in this. With this knowledge, we offer advice about better application of manure and crop protection products and monitoring of these effects.

10 inspiring examples of water quality research for clients of Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra):

  • A water purification marsh for Heineken and the region Water is an indispensable part of brewing beer. Beer consists of 93% water, making it a significant component of the brewing process. For decades now, Heineken has been purifying the water left over after the beer has been brewed with its own installation. Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) is the knowledge partner for a new project by Europe’s largest beer brewer and the province of South Holland to improve waste-water purification by developing a purification marsh.
    Een waterzuiveringsmoeras voor HEINEKEN en de regio
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  • RichWaterWorld - Climate Proof Water Management in green transition zones between urban and rural areas Green transition zones between urban and rural areas have potential for climate adaptation strategies. The project RichWaterWorld explores the possibilities for an innovative climate proof water management concept in Park Lingezegen between Arnhem and Nijmegen in The Netherlands.
    RichWaterWorld
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  • Groundwater Atlas for pesticides The recently published Groundwater Atlas for pesticides provides an overview of where and when pesticides have been found in groundwater. The results can be used to improve water quality in the Netherlands. The data will be used by the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) to monitor groundwater quality.
    Grondwateratlas voor bestrijdingsmiddelen
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  • Flutox Wageningen University & Research is investigating the crop-protection products produced by manufacturers and the ecotoxicological effects of fungicides in sediments in waterways. This TKI Delta Technology project is part of the Sustainable Water Management programme.
    ALT12 Flutox
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  • Sludge2Soil Research into processing waste-water purification sludge into valuable mineral fertilisers and organic soil improvers with existing and new technologies contributes to solutions in the water, food and ecology nexus. The project is partly made possible with TKI Delta Technology.
    Alt08 Sludge2Soil
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  • Otter symbolises good nature management Twenty-five years ago, water pollution, decimation of their natural habitat and traffic made otters extinct in the Netherlands. Otters were reintroduced in Northwest Overijssel in 2002, and researchers from Wageningen University & Research have been monitoring the development of the otter population ever since. There are now over 140 otters living in the wild.
    Otter symbolises good nature management
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  • FOURCE: a technique for reducing the salinity of brackish water The Fource project created by Lodewijk Stuyt from Alterra and PhD candidate Melle Nikkels from Wageningen University has won first prize at Water Republic x SAIL 2015 Innovation Edition. In Pakhuis de Zwijger, situated on the bank of the IJ in Amsterdam, three very diverse projects were selected from the 25 entries competing for the innovation prizes for water in the broadest sense of the word. Fource managed to secure first prize.
    FOURCE een techniek om brak water zoeter te maken
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  • Eight million for climate, water and soil The collaboration between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and a consortium of water boards, universities and knowledge institutions was formalised in the Lumbricus knowledge programme on Tuesday 13 December. In the Nieuwpoort society (The Hague), at the administrative kick-off of the Soil and Subsoil Knowledge and Innovation Programme (KIBO), minister Schultz promised a contribution from the ministry to the sum of €2 million and symbolically presented the collaborative partners with the collaboration agreement.
    Acht miljoen voor klimaat, water en bodem
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  • Adjustable drainage can retain water on plots An innovative drainage system makes it possible to retain water in periods with excess precipitation for dry periods. This means farmers will be able to coordinate the drainage level of the land with the variable circumstances making them water managers of their own farms: the water is managed on-site. Together with his colleagues, Lodewijk Stuyt conducted five-years of research into this composed adjustable drainage.
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