Salinization and drought are increasingly causing shortages of freshwater in coastal regions. In the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen district on the southern Dutch coast, a Wageningen solution is being tested: the purification of sewage and wastewater from industrial processes in wetlands. This could provide a buffer supply that the entire district can draw on in the summer months.
The dry summer of 2018 caused particularly serious problems, with lower agricultural yields, shortages of irrigation, cooling and drinking water, and shipping brought to a standstill.
'Particularly in dry summer periods, people and industry in Zeeuws- Vlaanderen are very dependent on the scant supply of freshwater from this pipeline. And during a long and severe drought, an adequate supply is not guaranteed,' says Huub Rijnaarts, professor of Environmental Technology.