Adaptation pathways to prevent dry periods in De Dommel

by A.J. van Osnabrugge, supervised by O.A.C. Hoes and J.S. Timmermans

With climate change the weather is changing in the Netherlands. In the last century the summers have become drier and the rain pattern has changed to shorter but more intense rainfalls, resulting in longer dry periods (KNMI, 1980, 2019). The Dutch infrastructure for waterways has been designed to direct the water as quickly as possible towards the sea because there was sufficient water available and the country would otherwise be prone to flooding (Arcgis, 2021). But due to the changing weather agriculture, nature, industry and the population of the Netherlands suffer from a shortage of water during summer times (Rijkswaterstaat).

The higher parts of the Netherlands, which often consist of sandy soils and thick sandy aquifers, suffer even more resulting in water restrictions for agriculture (Rijkswaterstaat). Also at Waterboard ‘De Dommel’ They face these problems. This can be harmful for agricultural yields, but is necessary for nature and drinking water companies. During high intensity summer storms water is quickly diverted to the bigger channels, not recharging the groundwater level. A transition from diverting access water towards retaining and infiltrating this access water is therefore necessary. It is needed to insure sufficient water in future summers.

This research is about the possibility to prevent water shortage during the summer months in two different areas in ‘waterschap’ (waterboard) de Dommel, Brabant. Due to climate change this has become an issue in these areas. With a groundwater model different adaptation paths will be tested. The adaptation paths will be combinations of different interventions come up by the water board and other experts. The XLRM framework will be used to define when an adaptation path is ‘working’ or not. Some future scenarios will be modelled in the groundwater model to test if the adaptation paths will also ‘work’ in more extreme or other future scenarios. In the end, the difference in the results of the groundwater behaviour, due to the adaptation paths, in both areas will be compared.