Just like Belgium and several other European nations, the Netherlands has been experiencing extended periods of warm weather in recent weeks, which has resulted in an “actual” state-wide water shortage.
The Dutch government on Wednesday has officially made an announcement about a water shortage, as the persistent drought has seen the national water demand exceed the amount of water the country receives via rivers and rainfall, a situation that is expected to continue until the end of August. However, there will still be sufficient drinking water.
“For several weeks we have been seeing that it is getting drier in the Netherlands. This is partly due to a lot of evaporation in our own country and partly due to a very low river supply from abroad,” Michèle Blom, chair of the Management Team for Water Shortages (MTW), said.
“Water boards have therefore already taken measures to retain the water and distribute it as effectively as possible,” he added, referring to the bans placed on spraying crops with surface water and lock restrictions for ships to keep water levels high, meaning some waterways will be obstructed.
Overall, the shortage mainly affects agriculture and shipping, however, nature is also affected, as rivers, ditches and lakes will supply less fresh water.
This is not the first time there has been an “actual” water shortage in the country: it is already the fifth time since the start of the 21st century. The critical water situation level was also announced in 2003 (when there was even an impending national crisis due to the drought), 2006, 2011 and 2018.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government has announced that amid the ongoing situation, new measures to distribute the water could follow in the coming weeks, of which the management will be in the hands of the MTW, consisting of the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), as well as drinking water companies, provinces and competent ministers.
While the measures to keep water distribution as optimal as possible are not yet necessary, the government stressed they may be in the coming weeks if the problem continues, and “the current situation calls for decisions that transcend regions, water system functions and stakeholders.”