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Web magazine, 22 March 2011 15:00

Savings in groundwater and tap water use

In spite of the increase in the population, the amount of tap water used by Dutch households hardly changed in the period 1990-2009. Water saving measures have reduced the amount of water used per capita by an average 0.5 percent per year. In trade and industry tap water use fell by an average 1 percent per year. 

Per capita tap water use continues to fall

Households account for 66 percent of the consumption of tap water in the Netherlands. Since 1990 the amount of tap water used by Dutch households has risen by nearly 1 percent, while the population has risen by 11 percent. Water efficiency measures have reduced per capita tap water consumption from 131 litres (1990) to 119 litres (2009) per day, a decrease of 0.5 percent per year.

Tap water use by households

Tap water use by households

Industrial tap water use stabilising

Companies have used on average 1 percent less tap water per year since 1990, while overall their production, profits and employment have grown. The reduction in this sector came to an end in 2005. Surprisingly, water use by companies did not fall in 2009, in spite of the economic recession.

Tap water use by companies

Tap water use by companies

Groundwater abstraction decreases further

The abstraction of groundwater was 15 percent lower in 2008 than in 2003. In this period the manufacturing industry and water companies extracted 18 and 5 percent less groundwater respectively. Water companies extract most groundwater. In warm dry summers, such as 2003 and 2006, more groundwater is used in agriculture. Other sectors, too, show slightly higher groundwater use in warm dry summers.

Groundwater use

Groundwater use

Dutch economy less water intensive

In 2003, 1.04 litres of tap water were used for every euro generated in the Netherlands. In recent years less and less water is used per euro. In 2008 water use had already dropped to 0.85 litres per euro of value added. This is a fall of 18 percent in the space of five years. The basic metal industry, livestock farming and the petroleum industry use most tap water per euro generated.

Tap water per euro

Tap water per euro

Cor Graveland and Kees Baas

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