HOD Update: opportunities and challenges for drinking water

First networking event for participants of Advanced Course for Drinking Water (HOD)

On Thursday, 30 June, KWR organised ‘HOD Update’ for the first time with our partner Wateropleidingen: a networking afternoon for current and former participants of the Advanced Course for Drinking Water (HOD).

The HOD is provided by Wateropleidingen and it is for professionals working at the drinking water companies. This first HOD networking afternoon focused on the opportunities and challenges facing the sector. Willem van Pol, the Head of WML’s Research & Advice Department, sketched the dynamics facing the drinking water sector on the basis of developments at WML. In addition to the familiar issues relating to water quality, the changes in drinking water demand and water availability are playing an increasingly important role. “It is very important for the drinking water sector to be alert and agile in response,” Van Pol explained.

Freshwater supplies

Klaasjan Raat, a senior researcher in Geohydrology at KWR, then looked at solutions for freshwater supplies on the basis of results from the Sector Research for the Drinking Water Sector (BTO). Examples include managing salinisation, measures for tackling aridification in a structural way, and the importance of ‘water system thinking’. Raat pointed out that the last factor helps to establish a clearer picture of the knock-on effects, opportunities and bottlenecks associated with drought measures.

Alternative sources and distribution

In two workshops, there were discussions based on dilemmas associated with the use of alternative sources, and drinking water companies in a changing environment. The dilemmas centred on technical issues, such as which type of treatment is required for alternative sources and the implications of rising temperature in the mains network. Issues relating to the local context were also discussed, such as how to work with customer perceptions when using alternative sources. And how do you maintain control over the subsurface? There were interesting discussions between the participants.

Advanced Course for Drinking Water

Wateropleidingen is currently working on an update of the Advanced Course for Drinking Water. The ‘HOD Update’ may be given a place in the new curriculum.