The Water Demand Forecasting Tool helps predict water demand in times of scarcity

Rijkswaterstaat and ten water authorities

Witteveen+Bos developed the Water Demand Forecasting Tool for Rijkswaterstaat and ten water authorities, in collaboration with HKV. The Water Demand Forecasting Tool was used for the IJsselmeer and East-Netherlands freshwater supply regions.  

Choices on water distribution

The tool is intended for use in dry to extremely dry summers. In these circumstances, water managers want to be able to look ahead and make timely, correct choices on water distribution. Using expected levels of precipitation and evaporation, the tool forecasts the freshwater demand on surface water up to six weeks in advance. 


The tool’s development was due to the dry summers of 2018 and 2019. Spring in 2020 was also extremely dry and, in August of that year, the hottest ever period was recorded in the Netherlands. Freshwater is needed during dry periods for various reasons: for the stability of dykes, to limit subsidence, for the supply of drinking water, as a coolant in industry, to maintain water quality in urban areas, to prevent salt intrusion at locks, for the irrigation of crops, and for vulnerable nature.

These compete for priority during a shortage, with choices needing to be made in regional drought meetings. Sound information on freshwater demand, therefore, is crucial.

Photo of a hand watering a garden.

IJsselmeer Region and East-Netherlands

Witteveen+Bos opted for a flexible and modular design, so that the tool can be extended to other regions and new models can be added. Water managers, such as Rijkswaterstaat and water authorities, were also closely involved in the tool’s development.

Interdisciplinary digital services

How do we distribute scarce water during extreme drought? This is a question that many Witteveen+Bos water experts and engineers – as well as data and software engineers – concern themselves with on a daily basis. With our many years of experience in advising water authorities and water managers, we are ready to answer this question together.

More information about the Water Demand Forecasting Tool? Read this interview with Marcel Boomgaard, hydrologist at HHNK.

Water Demand Forecasting Tool

Fresh water scarcity is a growing problem. This tool makes it easier for water managers to anticipate on supply and demand.
A meadow sprayed with water.

More information?

Arie leverages his knowledge and experience for a sustainable and climate-adaptive living environment.

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Arie de Niet Senior Data Scientist