World Health Day. Deltares explores alliance with Erasmus MC

Published: 7 April 2019

Water and soil quality are closely inter-related with our health. However, studies of this relationship are housed with different organisations. Deltares and Erasmus MC have decided to join forces in order to combine the research.

Exposure to certain substances in water and the subsurface can impact health. The Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam studies the health of the public at the district level and Deltares has models at the same local level that predict exposure to harmful substances. This makes it possible to establish a picture of the quality of open water and closed water systems (in other words, sewers). Working together, we hope to see whether the combination can identify links between water quality, sewers and health. This research could generate added value for both water managers and doctors.

Antibiotics and resistance

The presence of antibiotics and resistant bacteria in sewer systems is a growing problem worldwide. Resistant bacteria can spread through the environment, with all the negative consequences that implies. Here also, Deltares and Erasmus MC intend to collaborate on studies to see how this process works in different contexts. The aim of the current proposal is to detect and monitor resistant bacteria in both Groningen and Java, Indonesia.

Changing climate

In the context of climate change, Deltares and Erasmus MC also want to initiate research to look more closely at whether certain diseases can spread through Europe in new climate conditions. Take warm summers in the Netherlands, for example, when people bathe more often in surface water or when the presence of exotic mosquito varieties may also lead to the transmission of viruses in the country. Deltares already models harmful algal blooms in delta areas and the spread of new pollutants through rivers, we are involved in microplastics research and we use big data to predict floods and drought. Our research fields are an excellent match with Erasmus MC’s in-house knowledge of infectious diseases, exposure risks and social health care.

Water quality in our cities

Healthy society

By working together, Deltares and Erasmus MC aim to develop knowledge that can be used both to provide cities and deltas with effective and safe water management, with a strong focus on new insights about the relationship with public health.