Water fit for purpose: differentiation in level of quality according to usage; avoid exceptional treatment costs (energy, chemicals, sludge handling)
For each use of water, there is a corresponding water quality that is required. Often this water quality requirement may be linked to human health, as with drinking water or with other uses where there may ultimately be human contact, such as irrigation. Or there may be other needs, such as the specific water quality requirements of different industrial processes. Achieving the required water quality ensures the water is fit for purpose.
The Dutch focus on producing water that is fit for purpose supports the sustainable use of water resources. If, for example, the end use is one where a relatively low quality of water is required, such as washing vehicles, then it would be possible to produce this water efficiently and cost-effectively using an alternative source such as stormwater. Similarly, particular industrial uses may require water that is of a high quality for certain contaminants but tolerate the presence of other substances. The focus on producing water fit for purpose therefore helps open the way to the use of alternative sources, including stormwater, seawater, and recycled water, reducing pressures on the best quality resources.
Dutch technology ensures that water can be provided at the required quality. This includes technologies that make use of alternative sources viable, such as the filtration equipment, chemicals, and energy efficient pumping systems that can be combined to provide cost-effective treatment of stormwater. It also includes technologies working right across the full range of water treatment options to keep treatment costs to a minimum, by optimising the need for energy and chemicals and reducing the amounts of sludge that need to be disposed of.