Fresh water supply

Under pressure

We are increasingly noticing the effects of climate change: prolonged droughts, crop failures, more wildfires, drying rivers or, conversely, more flooding and more violent storms or hurricanes.

Fresh water supplies are under increasing pressure as a result. Drier seasons, combined with rising water demand, lead to water shortages. These have negative impacts on various sectors, such as the drinking water supply, agriculture, nature, shipping, industry, et cetera.

What does Witteveen+Bos do in this area?

Witteveen+Bos is an expert in the field of fresh water supplies. We conduct many exploratory and feasibility studies. An important starting point in this is a water systems analysis of the catchment, which provides insight into the availability of water.

We also identify water demand. We then advise what measures can be taken to reduce (future) water shortages. We draw up catchment area plans, with measures to retain water in the rainy season to have more water and river discharge in the dry season.

This includes measures such as agroforestry. Placing trees on edges of lots will help retain more water and keep the soil from washing away. Moreover, trees offer numerous other benefits.


We also prepare designs of irrigation facilities. For example, we have designed rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems for Ghana, Gabon and Sierra Leone. We also design measures to combat salinisation, through smartly controlled drainage and irrigation techniques that we apply in Vietnam, Egypt, and elsewhere.

Increasing rainfall and river discharge in winter also present opportunities. What if we could capture the water and retain it, so that we can use it in summer?

More information?