Urban Water Challenges solved by the Dutch

Global distribution of the world's water (2006)

Global distribution of the world’s water (2006)

Worldwide, especially in emerging countries, the demand for water is increasing. The Netherlands is a water knowledge country. Their knowledge can help water managers around the world, facing future problems. 

The Netherlands promotes a number of promising technologies that can help the world. The Netherlands became all this knowledge because the country is known as the waste pit of Europe. The water of the river Rhine for example, has been used several times by the Germans by the time the Dutch want to use it. Good clean water is essential.

Dutch water expertise abroad

Many Dutch high tech water companies offer ‘Water Operator Partnerships’ in other countries to share knowledge and improve the local water quality. They are highly recommended as advice partners in local issues. The Dutch Water Technology sector includes:

  • High Tech, large and well-organized Water companies
  • (Inter)national Engineering Associations
  • Water expertise in Dutch universities and other knowledge based institutions
  • Suppliers (to water companies)

Challenges in the urban water cycle

Water scarcity is increasing in the world. They have more demand than countries can supply. Problems become more severe because of:

  • climate change related issues such as drought
  • urbanization, people move to cities to try and make a living
  • Due to population growth and increasing prosperity of individuals who will use more water
  • demographic changes, people live longer
  • More industrial development – the industry often needs water for its production
  • Also its important to reuse water. Nowadays most of the waste water in large parts of the world is still discharged in rivers, lakes and oceans. All around the world, waste water collection and recycling is needed in order to prevent pollution
The world needs fresh water

We need fresh water

A lot of (big) cities depend on a water supply of hundreds of kilometers away. For instance, Johannesburg (South Africa) gets its water from The Katse dam in Lesotho which is about 500 kilometers away.

And the river flowing through Shanghai (China) had been so very much polluted that the government decided to build a new water recycle plant in another river the Yansay river just because of the pollutions.

Dutch challenges

The Netherlands needs four times more water for the industry than for the Dutch people. What challenges are the Dutch facing:

  • Avoiding pollution like medicines in surface water
  • Generating renewable energy -biogas – from the urban water cycle from sludge (organics)
  • Brackish water abstraction
  • More efficiency and cheaper reuse for agriculture and industry by membranes and crystallization technics, biological technics


TU Delft water expert – professor professor Urban Water Cycle Technology Luuk Rietveld





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