COASTAR project publishes potential of the subsurface in The Netherlands to prepare for drought

Published: 28 June 2021

As of today, COASTAR will provide us with a picture of the opportunities afforded by the subsurface in the Netherlands to make better preparations for drought. After several years of drought, fresh water supplies in the Netherlands were under considerable pressure due to falling groundwater levels.

Fortunately, the early months of 2021 were wet and groundwater levels are rising again. In the future, wet and dry years will continue to alternate so it is essential that we use the available fresh water sparingly. COASTAR is investigating possible ways of using the subsurface to store any surpluses in wet years with the aim of building up reserves for dry years and preventing the salinisation of groundwater at the same time.

COASTAR measures such as brackish water extraction and the underground storage of fresh water will allow the subsurface to make a substantial contribution to sustainable and robust freshwater supplies in the future. With the potential maps, we have mapped out the opportunities in the subsurface in the Netherlands.

Potential chart for the Netherlands COASTAR

Potential chart for the Netherlands COASTAR solution varying from red (no potential) to green (large potential)

We used the characteristics of the subsurface and included the effects of the measures on the reduction of salinisation, costs and land subsidence. So we now have the results of an initial scan of promising areas and that is a starting point to build on for promising locations.