KWR’s conducts research into the impact, among others, of climate change, nutrients, water management and site management on biodiversity and groundwater recharge, and also studies the effects of restoration measures. We thus contribute to achieving nature objectives and a sustainable freshwater provision. For the urban environment specifically, we examine ‘blue-green’ solutions to address the consequences of climate change.
Sustainable water management for nature conservation
Our experts research the possibilities open to sustainable water management to bring about the conservation, restoration and development of nature (biodiversity). To this end, we carry out ecohydrological system analyses, for example, within the programme of the Dutch OBN Knowledge Network for Nature Restoration and Management. Using lysimeters, we measure the evapotranspiration from natural vegetations to better quantify the groundwater recharge. We also develop dynamic models that allow us to explain and predict the biodiversity in natural areas, as a function of climate change, nitrogen deposition, water management and site management. We make use of new technologies, such as the application of drinking water sludge in natural areas as a means of reducing phosphorus availability, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – drones – to monitor vegetation development.
Sophisticated water management for sustainable freshwater provision
When it comes to water supply, we carry out field and model research, which allows us to both quantify and manage freshwater supply via innovative technological solutions. This contributes to a robust water provision for agriculture, industry, drinking water and nature. By implementing smart measures in the field, such as subirrigation, reuse of (industrial) effluent, controlled drainage and water-balance management through targeted vegetation management, water shortages can be redressed in dry periods.
Climate change leads to blue-green solutions
To address the impact of climate change, we work on smart combinations of water technology and ecology for the urban environment. For instance, we combine nature with water storage, so that threatened water shortages or heat stress can be prevented and the city’s biodiversity strengthened. Take for instance the optimal evapotranspiration of a ‘blue-green’ roof with a closed water loop, like the one currently installed on an Amsterdam hotel.