The Dutch government has declared a national water shortage following the extremely hot and dry summer affecting a good part of Europe, informs Phys.org. A national team has been formed to come up with measures to manage water supplies, and the public has been asked to contribute to water conservation efforts.
According to the government, drinking water supplies are not under threat, and new measures are not deemed necessary, but they might be in the future.
Michele Blom, from the country's Public Works and Water Management agency, and appointed to oversee the drought task-force, said "We have been seeing it get drier in the Netherlands for several weeks now because of evaporation in our own country and very low river flows from abroad". Less water is flowing in rivers into the country due to dry conditions to the north and east in Europe.
Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, has called on people "to think carefully about whether they should wash their car or completely fill their inflatable swimming pool. The Netherlands is a water country, but our water is precious here too." He said that "the water shortage is already having a negative effect on shipping and agriculture in particular".
In parts of the country there are restrictions on the water used to irrigate crops. Low water levels in rivers are hampering barge traffic as well as small ferry traffic.
The mechanical bridges over Amsterdam’s canals had to be sprayed with water to prevent metal from expanding, as the structures could jam shut and block the passage of boats.
The European Union’s executive warned in July that the continent is facing one of its toughest years when it comes to natural disasters like droughts and wildfires because of increasing climate change.