The water quality of the Meuse declined sharply last year. More harmful substances have been discharged into the Meuse and the river is becoming increasingly drier due to climate change. The partnership of Dutch and Belgian drinking water companies RIWA-Maas warns about this.
According to the organization, it is important that the river, on which 7 million people depend for their drinking water, is better protected. One of the organization’s most important points is better monitoring of where harmful substances in the river come from.
“We should no longer see our surface water as a kind of sewage drain,” says director Maarten van der Ploeg of RIWA-Maas in the 2022 annual report. This discusses, among other things, the inadequate permits of companies that discharge substances into the river. Not all harmful substances measured in the Meuse can be found in the licensing regulations of companies. The drinking water companies would very much like to get a “complete overview” of this.
The drinking water companies filter the Meuse water so that it can ultimately be supplied clean. Cleaned Maas water comes from the tap in The Hague, Rotterdam and Limburg, among others. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply high-quality water, says Van der Ploeg.
Not just water shortage
According to RIWA-Maas, climate change has a major effect on the river. For example, the year 2022 was the driest year of this century for the Dutch part. Less water does not only mean that water shortages can occur. It also means that harmful substances are less diluted.
Last year, 79 substances were measured in concentrations above the European target values. Due to contamination, an intake stop or restriction had to be imposed a total of 62 times at the Dutch and Belgian drinking water companies that use water from the Meuse. It is expected that this will become more common in the future.
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