Drought in East Netherlands now as bad as record years 2018, 1976

For the second year in a row, the precipitation deficit in Achterhoek and Twente reached the same level as in late July 1976 - the driest year ever in the Netherlands, the Union of Waterboards reported on Wednesday. "This region has had a hard time for two consecutive year", said Hein Pieper of waterboard Rijn en IJssel and vice-president of the Association of Waterboards, NU.nl reports. 

The precipitation deficit is the negative difference between the amount of rainfall and the amount of water evaporating from the soil. If the difference is positive, it is called a precipitation surplus. In Twente there is currently a deficit of 269 millimeters. Achterhoek is facing a deficit of 242 millimeters. The precipitation deficit is much lower nationally at 176 millimeters. But that is still well above the normal average deficit of 100 millimeters per year. 

According to the Union of Waterboards, the east and south of the country had much less rain than the rest of the Netherlands. These areas are more dependent on rainfall than the rest of the country, because they receive little to no fresh water supply from rivers.

The precipitation deficit means that more and more streams are drying up and the groundwater levels are dropping. The heat wave last week did not help. 

Waterboards Rijn en Ijssel and Vechtstroom banned irrigation using surface water in Achterhoek, Twente and parts of Drenthe in mid-July. They hope that the irrigation ban will help prevent problems like blue-green algae, botulism and fish mortality, and thereby help maintain the water supply to urban areas as long as possible.