Sustainable use of water resources, by maintaining minimum availability through recharging or selection of alternative sources
The traditional approach to water supply is to abstract the desired quantity from the environment, treat it to the required quality, and use it once. Demand continues to rise around the world and this approach is increasingly unsustainable.
The Netherlands promotes a different philosophy, one aimed at ensuring a more sustainable use of water resources. As well as adopting approaches that minimise water use, it promotes the use of alternative sources, including water reuse, and the recharging of resources. Together these maintain the minimum availability of the water resoures.
One important concept used in this is to consider exactly what water quality may be required for any particular use. Available sources can then be matched to these end requirements. Certain industrial uses, for example, may only require a water quality that can be met by using stormwater or rainwater, rather than drinking water supplies. Some treatment may be needed to ensure the right quality, but costs can be minimised if the starting quality is closer to what is required at the end. This approach promotes water reuse within and between different sectors, such as industry, agriculture, households, and municipalities, and supports the closing of resource loops at a small scale.