Water challenge

Heavier rainfall asks for readdressing urban water management.

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany © Atelier Dreiseitl

Use of ‘other’ water

One possibility for reducing the amount of drinking water consumed is to replace drinking water by ‘other’ water for purposes that do not require drinking water quality, such as flushing toilets, laundering textiles, cleaning and irrigating plants. As a rule, rainwater, treated wastewater or local groundwater or surface water can be used for these purposes. The choice of the most suitable replacement depends on local circumstances and regulations.

In the Netherlands, the government does not (or not yet) offer any incentives for using ‘other’ water. As matters stand, sufficient sources are available in the Netherlands for producing drinking water. However, this might change as a result of longer dry spells in the summer. In many countries, sources for producing drinking water are already becoming scarce.