Strategic Water Balance Overijssel

The Province of Overijssel is facing multiple challenges with regard to water management in rural areas: both the natural environment and agriculture require water and there is an increasing demand for groundwater used for human consumption and in industry. The dry summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020 have also shown that there are shortages of fresh water supply. It is expected that the scarcity will only increase as a result of climate change. Witteveen+Bos has drawn up the Strategic Water Balance for the Province of Overijssel.

A well-reasoned sustainable policy for these current issues requires a supported representation of the water balance, which includes mapping out important parameters:

  • Who or what requires water?
  • What are the water sources?
  • Where are the water sources?
  • How does the water supply differ during average, wet and dry years, and throughout the seasons?

To answer these questions, the groundwater and surface water systems of the entire province were mapped out. The analysis incorporated data from all organisational bodies involved in the supply and demand of water: the provincial government, water authorities, Rijkswaterstaat, Vitens and municipalities.

This Strategic Water Balance has been drawn up for the entire province and seven specific sub-sectors. Both in millimetres and in millions of cubic metres (m³) of water. It has taken into account the natural and human aspects of the water balance. This provides insight into the water demand and sources for the most important user functions.

The Province of Overijssel asked Witteveen+Bos:

  • To collect and process data (using the model output of the National Hydrological Model and measurements of the water managers) and subsequently to draw up the water balances;
  • To draw up the technical report and to produce informative, comprehensible visualisations for professionals and administrators not specialised in water management;
  • To present the results in various working sessions and to discuss these with the project group (water authorities, the provincial government, Rijkswaterstaat, Vitens, municipalities).

The Strategic Water Balance is used, among other things, to provide provincial administrators (members of the provincial council) insight into the water flows in Overijssel, against the background of the various water issues facing the province and the expected changes in climate and water use. The water balance forms a basis for strategic water management and spatial policy.

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