After the exceptionally dry year last year, the Netherlands will continue on the same foot in the coming weeks with little to no rain expected. As the groundwater level has still not recovered to standard everywhere in the Netherlands, this may mean that farmers in some areas will have to kick off the growing season with an irrigation ban. Farmers and waterboards are very concerned, AD reports.
Waterboard Rijn en IJssel expects more drought problems next spring, due to the extremely low groundwater level this year. For the water level to recover sufficiently to avoid dry waterways and irrigation bans, it will have to rain every day for months, Weeronline reports.
Snow is expected in the Alps this weekend and that is good news for the Rijn river, according to Weeronline. After the weekend the water level in the Rijn will not fall further, and may even rise a bit, the weather service expects.
The snow is expected in France, Switzerland, southern Germany and the northern parts of Austria. "A few dozen centimeters of snow are expected above 1,500 meters. Around 50 millimeters of precipitation will fall and that is good news for the water level in the Rijn", Weeronline writes.
The drought in the Netherlands is still persisting. On Monday afternoon the water level in the Rijn river at Lobith was 6.73 meters above sea level, thereby breaking the previous low record of 6.87 meters from August, De Gelderlander reports.
The rainfall over the past week was not enough to solve the precipitation deficit in the Netherlands, according to the national water distribution committee LCW. The drought measures will therefore remain in place. The quality of the surface water is also decreasing, NU.nl reports.
There's an increase of botulism and blue-green algae all over the country. The number of fish dying due to the poor water quality is also increasing.
Four campsites were evacuated due to a large forest fire in the Drenthe town of Wateren on Tuesday afternoon. Around 75 hectares of heathland burned down. The fire department got the fire under control around 9:00 p.m., but some 150 firefighters worked throughout the night to extinguish it completely, RTL Nieuws reports
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.
Nature lovers who look forward to a purple Posbank each summer, will be disappointed this year, according to naturalist Gerrit Jansen. The heather that turns the hills purple with its blossoms is withered by the persistent drought and will hardly bloom this year, he said to De Gelderlander.
Every year the purple glow over the hills of the Posbank - a national attraction - attracts thousands of visitors in the second half of August. This year they will be disappointed.
This July was the driest ever since rainfall measurements started in the Netherlands. Only 11 millimeters of rain fell nation wide this month, breaking the previous record of 16 millimeters in July 1921, Weeronline reported on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the last day in July, there is a chance of some rain in the north and west of the country. At most another 1 millimeter of rain will fall. Weeronline therefore feels safe to say the record is broken.
The Netherlands is "blind to drought" according to researcher Henny van Lanen of Wageningen University. The country needs to build up larger reserves of fresh water to prevent drinking water running out during extreme droughts, multiple experts warn, Het Parool reports.
"As a low lying country with large rivers, we are always working on preventing wetness. That explains why we are now so surprised by the drought", Van Lanen said to the newspaper. "Dutch water policy is very conservative: the rest of Europe has been arming itself against drought for much longer."
The number of wildfires in the Netherlands increased significantly this year. So far in 2018 there were already more wildfire reports than there were in the entire 2016 and 2017, according to figures from alarmeringen.nl, RTL Nieuws reports.
In 2016 a total of 1,293 reports were made of forest, heath and other wildfires. In 2017 there were 1,530. The wildfire report counter for this year already stands at 1,728.
The Dutch union for arable farmers NAV asked Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture to let potato farmers irrigate their crops with surface water, also in areas where a ban is currently in place. The NAV warns that many farmers are in danger due to the persistent drought, ANP reports.
The province of Friesland, Wetterskip Fryslân and water company Vitens are appealing to Friesland residents to take water saving measures. Due to the heat and drought, the demand for drinking water is 30 percent higher than normal, RTL Nieuws reports.
The "unprecedentedly high" demand is resulting in decreased water pressure, especially during peak times and in high buildings.
Friesland residents are called on not to use drinking water for watering their gardens or washing windows and cars. Also keep your shower as short as possible.
It is currently drier in the Netherlands than it was on July 25th, 1976 - the driest year in the Netherlands since measurements started. The average precipitation across the Netherlands stands at 261 mm on Wednesday. In 1976 it was 257 mm, according to Weeronline.
Whether the absolute drought record from 1976 will be broken this year, depends on what August's rainfall will look like, according to the weather service. In 1976 the precipitation deficit increased to 363 mm in August.
Meteorological institute KNMI issued a code orange weather warning for extreme heat in the entire country, except for the Wadden area. The warning is in place from 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday until Friday.
This summer is fast becoming the driest summer the Netherlands ever had. It seems almost certain that the drought record dating from the summer of 1976 will be broken in the coming days, meteorologist Brian Verhoeven of Buienradar said to RTL Nieuws.
The supply of water to the Rijn river that enters at Spijk Nederland dropped below the minimum limit for the month of July, the national coordination committee for water distribution LCW announced. The LCW therefore issued a code yellow, which means that a water shortage may be imminent. The low water level may lead to measures, though what measures exactly is not yet clear, the LCW said, NU.nl reports.
Households in parts of Friesland, Overijssel and Flevoland may experience low water pressure in the coming days. Water consumption in these areas is currently much higher than normal due to the persistent heat, water company Vitens announced on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
According to the water company, about 45 percent more water is currently being consumed in Friesland and Overissel than normal.
The Netherlands can expect hot weather again from next week. There is even a 2 percent chance that temperatures could climb to 42 degrees Celsius, according to Weerplaza. That is much higher than the hottest temperature ever measured in the Netherlands - 38.6 degrees Celsius, measured in Warnsveld.
A fire broke out in the dunes near Heemskerk, Noord-Holland, late on Monday morning. Emergency services are at the scene in large numbers, including dozens of fire trucks. The emergency services deployed en masse, erring on the side of caution due to the drought, a spokesperson for local safety office Veiligheidsregio Kennemerland said to ANP.
The Netherlands can expect more dry weather in the coming days. Until the end of next week there will be no, or hardly any, rain, according to meteorological institute KNMI. After that there is a chance of rain, but not enough to end the drought.
On Sunday the Netherlands had an average precipitation shortage of 155 mm, placing 2018 officially in the 5 percent driest years since the beginning of rainfall measurements in 1906. That means that since 1906, only 5 percent of years were as dry in the Netherlands as it currently is, Weeronline reports.
The precipitation deficit is the difference between the amount of rainfall and evaporation. If more water evaporates than rain falls from the air, there is a precipitation deficit. If it is the other way around, there is a precipitation surplus.
The fire brigades in Noord-Brabant and Limburg had their hands more than full with multiple wildfires on Sunday. The fires were caused by continuing drought in the two provinces, RTL Nieuws reports.
In Budel a large wildfire had fire departments from the entire region busy on Sunday. A drone team was deployed to get a complete picture of the burning area. About 10 hectares burnt down.
From Friday farmers in the whole Oost-Brabant are banned from using surface water - water from lakes and rivers - to irrigate their fields. Everyone in the area is called on to be economical with their use of water, water board Aa en Maas announced, Omroep-Brabant reports.
This ban applies to the areas Beneden AA, Boven AA and Raam. Surface water may still be used for the drinking water of cattle, for extinguishing fires, and if an adjustable drainage system is used. Farmers who use groundwater, and not surface water, for irrigation can continue to irrigate their lands.