Year Review 2021

KWR starts with innovative water reuse in its own building

'Water with Experience' for sustainable water reuse

Much of KWR’s research has to do with addressing the scarcity of water. The sustainable reuse of water is one our major societal imperatives. Besides its research, KWR itself also deals with water in a sustainable manner. We are now also doing this in the KWR building in Nieuwegein by using ‘Water with Experience’.

The KWR building is equipped with separate pipe systems for its water supply. Apart from the drinking water network, there is a separate ‘technical water’ circuit for flushing water and for toilet flushing water. KWR has recently begun using water originating from pilot experiments in its test facility for this pipe system. This concerns drinking water that is only employed in clean water experiments and that is still clean after it has been used.

Buffer tanks

In the KWR test facility we discharge the water from the clean water experiments into a first buffer tank. The water in this buffer tank can in principle already be used but, to avoid all possible risks, the water is passed through capillary nanofiltration (NF) membranes. These NF membranes are a recent development in water technology and are supplied by Dutch manufacturers. The membranes only allow salts through, while microorganisms are retained entirely and dissolved organic matter is retained in large part. The set-up consists of two NF elements, of which one is always operational. Following this treatment, the water is stored in two buffer tanks, which are installed under the grass in KWR’s outdoor area.

Water savings

The water KWR employs for reuse is not intended for consumption, but is used for the water tap-points in the labs and for flushing the toilets – this explains its designation as ‘Water with Experience’. The amount of this water that is available varies every year, depending on the type of laboratory work conducted at KWR. Through the use of this Water with Experience, KWR saves about 2000 m3 of drinking water annually. ‘We are shrinking our water footprint by a variety of means. Earlier on we moved to a vegetarian menu in our cafeteria, and now we have added this water savings initiative,’ says Jos Boere, KWR’s Deputy CEO.

The installation was built and incorporated into the building’s overall water system by KWR. The Vitens drinking water utility inspected the Water with Experience installation and welcomes the chosen approach.

At KWR we are committed to a water-wise world and to enhancing the sustainability of the water system. This is indispensable for preserving the liveability of our planet for future generations. In the way we work, in the use of our building and outdoor area, and in our collaboration with our partners, we strive for sustainability.

Water with Experience is ‘beyond reproach’, but at KWR is passes through capillary nanofiltration (NF) membranes before being reused.