The hot and dry summer seems to have ended in the Netherlands and neighboring countries. Sunbeams have given way to raindrops and rainbows again, while nature looks as green as ever. Below the “green” surface, however, the impact of this year’s exceptional drought is still visible.
Dutch groundwater levels reached historic lows this summer . In neighboring Germany, a study from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology showed that the drought effects have accumulated over the years, as winter precipitation can no longer compensate for summer shortages. This particularly affects groundwater resources, Germany’s main source of drinking water .
Declining groundwater levels due to a reduced refilling rate, and the increased water demand in summer, made water utility companies struggle to meet demand. Several countries even experienced water shortages . The Head of Policy and Development of one of the Dutch water utility companies told GreenMarked that “water boards are in transition. For centuries, the policy was to drain water to the sea as quickly as possible. Instead, we now need to hold it and “conserve” it as best as we can”.
If the climate crisis is not addressed, Germany’s groundwater levels are expected to drop “significantly” by the end of the century. Such a scenario will put enormous pressure on local water resources, threatening the country’s water and food security even more .