Water Nexus - Saltwater when possible, fresh water when needed

Worldwide, delta areas are of immense economic importance because of its dense concentration of population, industry and agriculture. Half the world’s population will live in delta areas this century. The economy of delta areas relies on freshwater. Severe scarcity is imminent due to growing demand and saltwater intrusion. Good quality freshwater is essential for public health, food production and certain types of industry.

Worldwide, freshwater scarcity is an immense problem, and rapidly increasing:

• For agriculture the shortage already is more than 100 billion m3/yr.

• For domestic use, a shortage of 50% is forecasted.

• For industry demand in 2025 is predicted to be at twice the level of the year 2000.

The pressure on fresh water resources from growing demand (and increasing pollution) is enhanced by changes in climate (extremes in drought and precipitation and rising sea levels) and soil subsidence (saltwater intrusion).

Present attempts to find solutions are fragmented (focusing on partial solutions) and are often connected with high costs and poor sustainability. Furthermore, it is clear that these solutions cannot create sufficient water quantities to really solve the scarcity. For a genuine breakthrough, a radically different approach is needed: integral water quantity and quality management. NWO-TTW funded research program Water Nexus developed a coherent set of technologies that will enable such a breakthrough. It focused on large volume sectors with a focus on industry, but in connection to agriculture, horticulture and ecosystems, with a high orientation on impact in solving scarcity.

Source: Wagner, T. 2021. Water Nexus - Saltwater when possible, fresh water when needed. Wetlands for wastewater treatment and Nature-Based solutions. AIWW 2021

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Icon afbeelding: Pixabay - Noordzee Waddenzee


AIWW2021 - IR14 - Thomas Wagner: Water Nexus – Saltwater when possible, fresh water when needed