We treat waste water to ensure clean water in our service area. This water can be used for various purposes, such as swimming and boating. It also benefits agriculture, nature and can be used to produce tap water.
We use an average of 150 litres a day per person in The Netherlands. We use that water, for example, to:
- flush the toilet
- wash the dishes
This dirty water is called wastewater. Each day we clean 343 million litres of wastewater. Otherwise, dirty water would end up in our rivers, lakes and canals. If they are polluted, it is hazardous for our health.
The water quality has improved in many areas over the past few years. We are very proud of this achievement. However, we would like our water to become even cleaner.
Agreements have been made regarding the quality of water in Europe. It states that the water must achieve a ‘good status’, meaning being sufficiently clean and healthy, by 2027.
In the Netherlands, the water authorities are taking the lead in trying to meet these objectives. We are working together with provinces, municipalities and other parties to achieve the set objectives.
The Regional Water Authority Amstel, Gooi en Vecht has already made great effort to improve the quality of water since 2009. We are already noticing that the water quality has improved in many locations. For example in the Naardermeer lake and in the waterways around Amsterdam. And in the Loenderveense and Vinkeveense Plassen (lakes).
Would you like to know what we have achieved so far? And what we plan to do in the coming years? You can read about it in the program 2016-2021 (pdf, 178 kB) (program measures in Dutch).
The water authority tackles pollution at its source. For example, houseboats and companies which dump wastewater into the surface water. This can pollute the sediment at the bottom of a body of water.
Most houseboats are now connected to the sewer system. We have cleaned and removed the polluted sediment at the bottoms of many water bodies in many areas. In these places, the water is once again safe for people, animals and plants.
We want to prevent future dumping into the water as much as possible. Therefore, we check if people and companies stick to the rules. Dumping should be reported. In some cases, you can apply for a permit.
Working together with municipalities
Municipalities carry out the management of the sewer system. Regional public water authorities clean the waste water. In Amsterdam, Waternet takes care of both.
Protect the sources
The water authority also protects our tap water sources. For example the Bethunepolder, which is located to the north of Utrecht. We ensure that the water is clean. This enables us to produce and supply tap water that is safe to drink.
We also are researching how we can use the salty groundwater in the Horstermeerpolder as tap water. We are using the latest techniques.
Healthy plants and animals
Clean water plays an important role in the survival of plants and animals. We regularly check whether enough different species of plants and animals are present in the water. Usually, more types of plant species also ensures that more fish and other water animals will thrive in the water. This is a sign that the water is healthy.