In recent years, long droughts in the summer are becoming more common. Despite the fact that we have a good system, it could happen that we have water shortages in the future. These problems are cropping up more frequently not only at Dow, but also at surrounding farmers and other large water users. This while excess water that falls in the winter drains into the sea. Summers are expected to become drier and winters wetter, so finding a solution for this will become even more important in the future. To find that solution, we have joined forces with farmers from the border areas. 

Underground water storage

The solution may be found underground. There are freshwater bubbles in old creek ridges (this is a higher-lying zone in a former tidal area), where some farmers get their water. Niels Groot, Water Specialist at Dow: “Potentially, those bubbles can be supplemented with excess fresh surface water. In this way we ensure that it doesn't drain off to sea but stays nearby for drier times. We are looking for subsoil with those freshwater bubbles, which are suitable for filling and the farmers are looking for ways and facilities to do this. With this we spread the risk and share the outcome if it turns out to be successful. If it succeeds, it creates a win-win situation.”

For demonstration

What are the next steps? Niels: “Next summer a demonstration will take place at one of those farmers' premises. In the winter we are going to infiltrate water into the subsoil, in other words, we are going to let the freshwater bubble that is already there grow. Will there be a dry period in April, May or June, for example? Then we can draw water from it.” This demonstration will have to show if and how it works, so that it can later be deployed on a larger scale. “There are already seven farmers in the region willing to participate in this concept. In the future, there is potential to enter into a form of cooperation with at least ten to twelve farmers from the border region. The demonstration project ends in 2022, after that we can evaluate and see how we can continue with this.”

Project status



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Listen to the Podcast with Anton van Beek

Listen to the Podcast via the link below, in which Maikel Harte talks to Anton van Beek about the sustainable ambition of Dow Terneuzen.