Dutch growers close the water balance

Growers in the area around De Hooghe Beer in Kwintsheul are conducting a project to investigate the extent to which infiltrating rainwater into the subsoil and working on closing the water balance within an area can be good alternatives. The program council of Kennis in je Kas (Knowledge in your Greenhouse) (KijK) is supporting the project financially.

The reason for the project is that the use of groundwater and the return of brine from reverse osmosis in the subsoil are under pressure. The custom work for greenhouse horticulture companies in several provinces to return brine to the subsoil expires on 1 July 2022. Extension of the customization is not automatic.

The government expects the sector to make more efforts to find alternative sources of water and to limit or compensate for the environmental effects of reverse osmosis.
The aim of this project is to investigate to what extent infiltration of rainwater in the subsoil and working on closing the water balance within an area can be good alternatives. The feasibility of this has been established on a model basis (within the Westland Waterbank project), but must be further developed and above all tested in practice.

Model versus practice
Testing in practice is necessary to gain knowledge of the extent to which the expectations (arising from the Coastar model-based study) apply in practice. In addition to the actual construction, there are many aspects that need to be investigated, such as fitting in with the business operations at the companies, the effects on groundwater and surface water, the legal preconditions (and thus the technical consequences) for the activities themselves and the monitoring and management of the final installation. Solutions must be found for the legal, organizational, and technical bottlenecks that arise during implementation in practice.

Joint responsibility
By infiltrating rainwater, the use of groundwater can be minimized on a net basis. The principle of a water bank has been identified as a promising solution for sustainable irrigation water. Various government parties have endorsed the importance of this and intend to co-finance the project. However, these decisions have yet to be officially ratified.

During its meeting on Tuesday 18 January 2022, the program committee of KijK agreed to honor the De Hooghe Beer project.

Source: KijK

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