Towards a water-wise world Annual report 2014

Mexico is also interested in Subsurface Water Solutions  

Vitens installs smart water abstraction well to combat salinisation

3 October 2014Research

In the beginning of October at Vitens, a smart water well – the Freshkeeper – is officially inaugurated by Hans Huis in ‘t Veld, the standard bearer of the Water Top Sector initiative. The smart well is a project of Vitens, Royal BAM Group and KWR, and should enable the continuous abstraction of fresh groundwater in Friesland into the future. Thanks to their victory in the Securing Water for Food Challenge, KWR, ARCADIS and partners will also be implementing Subsurface Water Solutions in Mexico.

In the past, Vitens has been obligated to close down part of the northern water abstraction field at the Noardburgum drinking water production site, because of the salinisation of the groundwater caused by the intrusion of brackish groundwater.
Production at the 3 other water abstraction areas in Friesland would in the near future not be able to make up for the shortfall which would result from the closure of Noardburgum. The project is therefore of great importance for the provision of drinking water in Friesland. At the same time, it’s one of the TKI Water Technology success stories.

“The Freshkeeper is of great importance for the provision of drinking water in Friesland”

A straw with an export potential

The smart water well is installed in such a manner that, despite the threat posed by brackish water, good fresh groundwater can continue to be abstracted, while the well actually pumps the brackish water into deeper subsurface levels. “The smart well works like a straw, with which one both sucks and blows,” says Ate Oosterhof, hydrologist at Vitens. “In this way, we keep fresh and brackish water separated. Thanks to the well we are able to maintain the provision of drinking water in Friesland at the level required.” KWR and BAM are partners in the project. BAM also sees international prospects for the smart water abstraction well. “There is definitely an interest in the system in other coastal zones, where people are struggling with the same salinisation problems as those confronted in Friesland,” says Frans Heinis, project manager at BAM.

Introducing SWS in Mexico

Mexico is also interested in KWR’s Subsurface Water Solutions (SWS), which the Freshkeeper is part of. During the World Water Week in Stockholm, it is announced that KWR, ARCADIS and partners have won the Securing Water for Food (SWFF) Challenge, an initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish Ministry for International Development Cooperation (SIDA) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Challenge offers KWR and ARCADIS, together with their international partners, the chance of introducing SWS in Mexico

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