Flanders’ largest drinking water company, De Watergroep, is planning to convert sea water into a source of drinking water. The last few summers have been particularly dry and the availability of water in Flanders at this time of year is becoming more limited. De Watergroep therefore wants to diversify the sources from which they draw water, says chairman Brecht Vermeulen.
In Ostend, the inter-municipal water company Farys is transforming brackish water from a canal into drinking water. De Watergroep will take this a step further, in collaboration with Aquaduin and Farys.
Whoever invests in the stock market must diversify his portfolio. We also need to diversify our water production so that we can better cope with climatic variations.Hans Goossens, Managing Director De Watergroep
A pilot project is to be started after the summer at a lock complex in Nieuwpoort to desalinate brackish water and seawater into drinking water. Other avenues are being explored, such as rainwater harvesting on industrial sites or wastewater treatment.
According to De Watergroep, this year the water reserves are good, which will help avoid the shortages that occurred last year in the Leuven region. With a particularly wet spring, groundwater reserves are at their best level in four years. Surface water sources are at normal levels.
This initiative will make Flanders the first region on the North Sea to use the sea as a source of drinking water, the Brussels Times reports.
Everyone knows the expression ‘carrying the water to the sea.’ In Nieuwpoort we are going to do just the opposite. Step by step towards a stronger water supply.Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister of the Environment
The context in 2020 was also different. Overijse and its surroundings had experienced water supply problems. Leuven was also very close to being without water. A very dry spring, combined with the confinement that prompted many citizens to fill their swimming pools, led to a 2.6% increase in domestic water consumption, the first in 10 years.