‘Subsurface storage’ wins H2O award for best specialised article

The specialised article, ‘Waterhergebruik en –berging met aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) op tuinbouwlocatie Nieuw-Prinsenland’ (‘Water reuse and storage using aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) at the Nieuw-Prinsenland horticultural site’) by Koen Zuurbier (KWR), Piet Janmaat (Tuinbouwontwikkelingsmaatschappij), Klaasjan Raat, Steven Ros (KWR) and Govert ter Mors (Utrecht University) has won the H2O award. The article describes the development of a sustainable freshwater supply for the greenhouse horticultural area of Nieuw-Prinsenland in Dinteloord, which was officially put into service last Thursday, making the article highly topical.

During the presentation on Friday morning at the Spring Congress of KNW, the jury chairperson, Idsart Dijkstra, said that the winning article ‘was very clearly written and contained attractive illustrations and explanations of the ASR (aquifer storage and recovery) technique.’ The H2O award is granted every year for the best specialised article presented on the H2O website. In its assessment the jury considers an article’s depth, innovation and applicability in practice. An added key criterion: writing quality.

The project described in the article involves the conversion of treated residual water from the Suikerunie sugar factory, which neighbours the horticultural area, into irrigation water and its storage in a subsurface wellfield. The growers in the greenhouse area can use the water as a supplement to the regular water supply whenever, due to drought conditions, this supply fails to meet all their needs. In the jury’s opinion, as reflected in chairperson Dijkstra’s explanation, the project is an excellent example of how the circular economy can be substantiated: ‘It’s a project with a positive business case which gives the reader the feeling that: this promises lots more!’ Dijkstra indeed expressed the hope that the project will be replicated elsewhere in the Netherlands as well as abroad.

This replication is very possible, as suggested in the comments made by the main author, Koen Zuurbier, after receiving the award. The subsurface storage can also be implemented as an urban water buffer in cities battling heat stress and drought.

Of the other nominated articles, the jury awarded the second prize to ‘het Dotterproject’ by Gé van den Eertwegh (KnowH2O), Ellis Penning, Rik Noorlandt, Mike van der Werf (Deltares) and Koen Berends (Deltares, University of Twente). The article describes a test using new techniques which produce a picture of the aquatic vegetation in waterways, making it possible to carry out ‘surgical’ interventions. ‘A very innovative project, with considerable challenges ahead,’ said Dijkstra, who was charmed by the title: ‘We will apply angioplasty to the waterways in the follow-up’.

The third place went to ‘Ecologische sleutefactoren voor stromende wateren’ (‘Ecological key factors for flowing waters’) by Niels Evers, Floris Verhagen, Frank van Herpen (Royal HaskoningDHV), Mirja Kits (Aa and Maas Water Board) and Ineke Barten (Waterboard De Dommel). As Dijkstra put it, the article is written in an exceptionally clear and compelling manner, and makes optimal use of illustrational possibilities: figures, photos and tables. The jury also found the ‘tips’ that the authors gave at the end of each paragraph particularly effective.