Key technologies for safeguarding regional water provision in fresh water stressed deltas

Technological challenge

The Netherlands experiences increasing threats to fresh water provision essential for ecosystems and societal functioning, including industrial and agricultural production. AquaConnect develops new scientific concepts for solutions that can ensure future fresh water provision. New key digital and chemical technologies, and innovative water governance approaches are developed that together form the base to design regional self-sufficient fresh water provision grids. Digital technologies are local scale modelling and design tools that allow identification and use of unexploited water resources and subsurface water storage. These are needed to design and operate new infrastructural grids to match water demand and supply. Physical-chemical treatment technologies will be developed and combined with existing technologies to enable use of brackish groundwater and wastewater treatment plant effluents. Water quality targets will be defined from risk assessments of circular water systems, considering technological and in situ biological removal of emerging pollutants and sustainable management of sludges and brines. Whilst closely working with stakeholders in four utilization cases due attention will be paid to societal feasibility, and the value of freshwater for the regional economy. Special focus will be on how to dovetail policy, legal, cultural change, and perception issues with the new technologies. Demonstration activities aim for an international outreach program, exporting technological approaches and sharing know-how on system management, governance and cultural change.