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The Netherlands, usually wet, now invests in dealing with drought

  • The Netherlands, usually wet, now invests in dealing with drought

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We usually think of the Netherlands in connection with floods, more so than with drought, but now the country is investing seven million euros to deal with extremely dry seasons. According to the government, the funds will go to building larger reservoirs, monitor evaporation levels, and reduce the impact of salt build up on the production of drinking water, reports NL Times.

The water level at Ijsselmeer, an artificial lake that supplies one third of the drinking water in the country, as well as water for agriculture, will be kept as high as possible at the start of summer to offset the impact on the water supply if this year turns out to be as dry as last year. As part of the government’s plan, local water boards will increase investments, and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) will study how to inform better the inland shipping sector and whether river dredging is necessary.

According to researcher Niko Wanders, of Utrecht University, droughts as severe as the one that occurred in 2018 used to be expected every 40-50 years, but currently may occur every 10-20 years. The Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI, has predicted that the country will become more and more dry in the future.

In 2018 a record drought hit he Netherlands, bringing about problems for the shipping and agriculture sectors. Moreover, a risk of subsidence due to low groundwater levels threatens more than one million homes. Meanwhile, as of end of March of this year, the country is experiencing an average precipitation deficit of 65 millimetres, instead of the usual surplus of about 200 millimetres for that time of year. This could lead to problems for the agricultural sector again in 2019.

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