Drinking water production stable

15/04/2002 10:00

In 2001 the amount of drinking water produced by water companies in the Netherlands remained stable at 1,184 million m3. This amount is the equivalent of a 28 millimetres of rainfall across the whole of the Netherlands, or 28.5 litres per square metre. Drinking water production seems to be stabilising at this level, a trend that started at the beginning of the 1990s. Population and economic growth are apparently completely compensated by a lower total consumption of water and a lower consumption per capita.

Less ground water

Drinking water is made from ground water and surface water. There are two methods for turning surface water into drinking water: direct purification and infiltration into the ground, from where it is subsequently pumped up and purified. In recent years there has been a gradual shift from ground water to surface water as a basis for drinking water, a trend that continued into 2001. The amount of drinking water produced from ground water in 2001 was about 4.5 million m3 lower than in the previous year at 741 million m3. Thus drinking water from ground water still accounts for 63% of total drinking water produced by water companies. In the years 1980/1995 this percentage fluctuated around the 66 mark. In addition to drinking water, water companies also produce so-called semi-filtrate: surface water that has been partly purified and is suitable for industrial use but clean enough to drink. 73 million m3 of this semi-filtered water was produced in 2001. Another 12 million m3 of tap water was produced by companies other than water companies; these include imports and exports of water.

Drinking water production, 1950-2001

Regional differences

The reduction in the amount of drinking water produced from groundwater in 2001 was mainly a consequence of the decrease in the province of Gelderland, where only ground water is used for drinking water (-5.6 million m3). Some 3 million m3 of drinking water was exported from the province of Zeeland. In the province of Limburg the amount of drinking water produced by companies other than water companies or imported rose substantially in 2001, from 4.1 to 6.7 million m3. Total consumption in this province is 76 million m3 .

Drinking water production

Leendert Pleijsier