New hydrological-hydraulic model offers insight into water availability

A new conceptual hydrological-hydraulic water model can quantify, for the Flemish water production centre Kluizen (De Watergroep), whether the reliability of the system is increased by the replenishment of the drinking water supply from groundwater and the use of an external variable source. The analysis also offers insight into the volume of additional intake required from other surface water sources, in order to ensure a filled reservoir for different production capacities in dry winter periods. The model is also able to calculate various climate change scenarios.

The study, ‘Waterbeschikbaarheidsanalyse WPC Kluizen’ (Water Availability Analysis WPC Kluizen), was carried out by KU Leuven within the Joint Research Programme of KWR and the water utilities and the Flemish-Dutch Water Research Programme (VNWKO). The research shows that water utilities can use the applied models to gain more insight into the effect of water quality on water availability. This represents an important step towards future-proof operational management.

Complex water systems

The KU Leuven research results show that scenario studies make it is possible to acquire an accurate picture of complex water systems with a strong hydraulic control. Among other things, this helps water utilities improve their understanding of the impact of climate change on water availability. Thus, different future scenarios and management strategies can be calculated with the models. The impact of water quality will be investigated further in follow-up research, and the researchers will also take into account the impact of sewer system overflows.

Left: water catchment area for Water Production Centre Kluizen (De Watergroep, Flanders). Right: water balance conceptual structure.