Human health needs knowledge about water and the subsurface

hittestressThe environment and our health are intimately linked, both directly and indirectly. At Deltares, we combine our integrated knowledge about water and the subsurface with human physiology to make the living environment healthier. This is essential: human health and knowledge about the living environment are still seen too often as separate worlds. Even though there are major changes in the living environment that are putting our health under more and more pressure. For example, floods and droughts are becoming more frequent due to climate change. Our cities will come to house 66% of the global population as it increases to 9 billion people in the run-up to 2050, creating a risk of water and food shortages. Our living environment will be exposed to extreme pressures as a result.

This urban-climate cocktail also creates a fertile breeding ground for pathogens and their carriers, leading to diarrhoea, malaria, measles, cholera, polio and pneumonia, diseases that represent just the tip of the pathogenic iceberg. The knock-on effect is an increase in the use and excretion of antibiotics, and even more antibiotic resistance.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to maintain or improve the health of ecosystems. In that way, we can reduce the risks of pathogens for human health.

The solutions arising from linking integrated knowledge about water and the subsurface to human health allow government authorities, businesses and the public to take action that is also good for health. In that way, those responsible for the planning, design and use of ecosystems can explicitly take the impact on human health into account.