Sustainable water management and groundwater quality

Groundwater: the invisible resource

We can hardly imagine that the greater part of the water in cities, villages and the countryside is hidden under our feet. Groundwater may be invisible most of the time, but it’s significantly important for the whole ecosystem and us humans. It’s the largest reservoir of freshwater and fulfils a wide range of functions. We use it for the abstraction of drinking water, as process water for industry and as irrigation water for agricultural applications. Keeping up and improving the quality of this resource is very important. A responsibility, which we need to commit to as provinces, municipalities, citizens and companies, to ensure that we can use our groundwater in a safe and sustainable way today and in the future. It’s not a coincidence that the first rule of the European Water Framework Directive states:

“Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.”

Questions concerning water management

To be able to use groundwater in a responsible and save way we are confronted with several questions:

  • Are there any risks in using the current quality of groundwater and surface water?
  • Which groundwater quality is necessary and which quality would we like to realise and why?
  • When the quality is insufficient, how can we improve this effectively?
  • How can we use the subsoil for social purposes like aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) and what is the impact on the quality of the groundwater and soil?
  • How can we store our water and how does this fit in our National Sewerage and Wastewater Treatment Plan and our commitment to create an environment ready for climate change?
  • How do we make sure that knowledge about contamination of groundwater is secured for future use?
  • How can we engage companies and citizens in improving water quality?

Working together is essential

The answers to all these questions must be translated into concrete provincial and municipal visions, plans and programs. A good water policy, now and in the future, depends on the quality of the cooperation between governmental organizations, businesses and civilians. This is in line with our new Environmental and Planning Act, which will lead to a shift in responsibilities and tasks and is based on a more integrated approach. Thanks to our experience with Area-oriented groundwater and soil management, Bioclear earth has a lot of expertise in supervising such complex processes and is capable of answering the above questions.

To do this, we take the following steps:

  1. We make an inventory of all ambitions, goals, demands and wishes.
  2. We assess the current groundwater quality.
  3. We analyse the risks and the different options.
  4. We examine the various interests involved.
  5. We translate this into joint visions, plans and programs.

Improving water quality in a sustainable way

To improve (ground)water quality in a sustainable way, we can use the solutions that nature offers us.

For 30 years Bioclear earth has developed its expertise in designing and adapting natural systems. These natural systems are very suited for an integrated approach of several environmental topics. A good example of this is the construction of water-rich areas (water corridors) in urban of rural areas. This is an effective, eco-friendly and visually attractive method, which we use to improve water quality.

Not only do we use our knowledge of eco-engineering’s techniques to biologically remediate soil and water, for instance with a remediating aquifer thermal energy storage system (ATES +), but also for recovering raw materials or energy from wastewater. The benefits are two-fold: by using nature and natural processes, we create a better water quality, a beautiful physical environment and economic growth.

Would you like more information on how to sustainably use, manage and improve (ground)water quality? Please contact Maurice Henssen.

Maurice Henssen
Senior consultant strategic projects