Officially a nationwide water shortage in Netherlands
There is officially a nationwide water shortage in the Netherlands, but the drinking water is not in danger, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. As the drought is expected to continue in the coming weeks, more measures may be taken to distribute the available water as well as possible, NU.nl reports.
The safety of the dikes and the energy supply is also not in danger, the Ministry of Infrastructure said on Thursday after consulting with the water boards, drinking water companies, the provinces, meteorological institute KNMI and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Due to the shortage, water distribution is coordinated by the water shortages management team MTW. The water shortage mainly affects agriculture, nature, industry and shipping.
Water boards in the south and east of the country already banned farmers from using surface water for irrigation. In some cases, ground water may also not be used. The ban also applies to a few places in the north and west of the Netherlands. The ban does not apply to watering gardens, but drinking water companies urge residents to use water as sparingly as possible during peak hours between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.and between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
The drinking water supplies are well filled, Arjen Frentz of the Association for Water Companies in the Netherlands assured NU.nl. According to Frentz, the drinking water supply is only at risk after a few years of drought. The best remedy for the drought is rainfall, he said. Not only in the Netherlands, but also abroad. "40 percent of our drinking water supply depends on the rivers Rijn and Maas." The water supply for these rivers come from France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
The drought is pressuring the quality of water and nature, according to the Ministry. There is also an increase in fish mortality, blue-green algae and botulism - a form of food poisoning caused by bacteria mainly found in swimming water. Netherlands residents are urged to only swim in designated areas. There is a list on the government's website of places where it is safe to swim.
Multiple drought and heat records have been broken in the country since May. There was a national heatwave last week, and may be a second one this week. The first heatwave is still ongoing in the largest part of the country. In the south and east of the Netherlands, for example, the heatwave reached 22 days on Thursday - the longest regional heat wave ever measured in the Netherlands, according to De Stentor.