Overijssel drinking water supply in serious danger, Vitens saYS
Overijssel's drinking water supply is in "great danger," drinking water company Vitens said in a letter to the province. The demand for drinking water is growing, but the possibilities of extracting more water are lagging behind, the company said, calling on Overijssel to do more to secure the drinking water supply in the province, NOS reports.
The past years' dry and hot summers resulted in the demand for drinking water exploding, Vitens said. The company had to supply record amounts of drinking water in 2018, 2019, and 2020. "And the expectation is that this will happen more often," Vitens said. Overijssel permits Vitens to extract a certain amount of drinking water every year. Of the over 100 water extraction areas in the province, Vitens extracted the maximum capacity at all but one in 2020.
The number of extraction locations is being expanded, but far too slowly, Vitens said. On average, it takes about two decades to assign a new extraction location. According to the water company, this is partly due to slow processes and procedures. And partly due to resistance from municipalities. They have a legal duty to ensure drinking water supply, but according to Vitens, they still use various means to stop the water extraction and pipeline network.
"The pace of progress is therefore too slow to bring the security of supply in order," Vitens said in the letter. "The drinking water supply can no longer wait for these processes that take too long. " Vitens asked the province to speed up breakthroughs by placing the security of the drinking water supply above other interests.
In a response to Vitens, the Overijssel provincial government acknowledged the problem. The province said that "unconventional solutions are negotiable," including using purified surface water, which is of lower quality. The province acknowledged that assigning new water extraction locations takes too long. "We agree with you, but the province does not have a 'golden bullet' at its disposal."