Dutch tap water more expensive due to poison in pastures: water company

Dutch consumers pay more for their tap water because farmers continue to use toxic pesticides like Roundup in their pastures, according to water company Vitens. Cleaning up the groundwater costs Vitens around 15 million euros extra every year, the company said to De Gelderlander. 

Vitens supplies many households in the east of the Netherlands with water. The company wants the agricultural sector to stop using this type of pesticide. "This type of substance affects the quality and harshness of the groundwater", spokesperson Caroline van der Veeken said to the newspaper. In the past, Vitens had to move water extraction wells due to toxic pesticides. "We also had to go deeper to extract groundwater and expand water purification because of the contamination caused by these substances. Every year this already costs us 15 million euros."

Farmers use controversial pesticide Roundup on a large scale to kill weeds during the spring, according to De Gelderlander. The pesticide kills the entire weed, including the roots. Conservationists claim that Roundup kills all living organisms in the soil. It also contains glyphosate, which may be carcinogenic.

According to Van der Veeken, Dutch water consumers don't need to worry about their health in this issue. "We purify all the water and of course those harmful substances will always be removed from it. But we do calculate the costs of this extra treatment through [to the consumer]. And also the costs of starting new water points."

Vitens is therefore calling for the use of manure and pesticides to be banned, or at least better monitored by municipalities. "Municipalities must monitor and enforce when it comes to harmful substances. Or the use of certain substances must be banned."

The European Union wanted to ban the use of Roundup last year, but retracted the ban because its harmfulness could not be scientifically proven, according to the newspaper. 

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