News item | 21-09-2022 | 17:45
The drought is receding. Although there are still large regional differences, there is no longer a national demand for fresh water that exceeds the supply. That is why the level of ‘actual water shortage’ (level 2) is now being switched to ‘imminent water shortage’ (level 1).
Due to the rain of recent weeks, the precipitation deficit has decreased to a level below the 5% driest years. The KNMI expects the deficit to decrease further in the coming weeks.
The Water Shortage Management Team (MTW) no longer meets due to the downscaling to level 1. Minister Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management) wrote this to the House of Representatives today.
Together against the drought
In recent months, the water boards and Rijkswaterstaat have taken many measures from north to south and east to west to improve the water supply, to retain more water and to prevent damage. The organization of the water distribution is a collaboration between Rijkswaterstaat, water boards, drinking water companies, provinces and the ministries involved (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Economic Affairs and Climate and Infrastructure and Water Management).
Some measures have been phased out. New measures will be lifted this week. This includes phasing out lock restrictions for shipping and dismantling temporary pumping installations that were needed to supply additional water.
As the drought subsides, all partners involved will evaluate the drought crisis. The wish is to have the final report ready well before 1 April 2023, because then the dry season will start again.
Drought not over yet
In a number of places there are still low river discharges, low groundwater levels and problems with water quality and salinisation. This means that the nuisance to shipping is not over yet, because some lock restrictions remain in force regionally. For example in the south on the Maas and at the locks in IJmuiden. Although the water demand from agriculture is falling (because the growing season is coming to an end), this sector is still experiencing regional problems. For example, through regional spraying bans in the south and east.
A longer period of precipitation is needed to restore nature. The low groundwater levels are only replenished slowly, so the problems with the parched nature are not over yet – certainly not in the higher parts of our country. In addition, combating salinity remains a major point of attention, especially in the North Sea Canal, the IJsselmeer and in the regional systems of the western Netherlands in particular.
The National Water Distribution Coordination Committee (LCW) will therefore remain active in monitoring the situation and the measures still necessary for water distribution.
Look at the last drought monitor.